Unlike a usually anticipated hot February day, Adelaide turned on a mild and sunny day to host a line up of innovators for classic Aussie 80s sound for By the C at Glenelg beach. There was a long line-up to get into and I had not anticipated such a well-attended event. To the promoter’s credit, they pushed back the start time of the bands to account for the delay. This was an anticipated event for the 1980s fans ready to relive their youth.
Due to the epic queue and security checks I unfortunately missed local support act Illuka however heard the start of Mental as Anything from outside the entrance, only managing to catch the end of Mental as Anything’s set once inside the gate. Mental as Anything set the tone for the day rocking out all the classics and played them well. It is rare for a music festival to get such a large crowd so early in the line-up – but this is what people had come to hear.
Next up, Do Re Mi hit the stage. After a 30-year hiatus since last performing, they energetically and eagerly came out to wow. The excitement of returning to stage was evident in Deborah Conway’s reminder that it had been 30 years together with their shameless self-promotion to attend their next local gig at the Gov and to buy their merchandise. Do Re Mi played Man Overboard, and everyone was ready to hear this track, being the main hit that they were waiting for.
Sunnyboys opened up next on stage with Love to Rule and got the crowd up dancing with their surfy sounds, totally apt for the location and day. The fans in the crowd wearing t-shirts from some of their original concerts back in the 80s, singing along word-for-word, and they had the beach rocking, not caring who was watching, because they were dancing. Some of the newer tracks from the 2017 album were played but the fans were there were the old school tracks. Sunnyboys played all the well-known songs including Tunnel of Love and Alone with You and proving they are still a solid act and why they have maintained a strong following over the years.
The crowd was such an eclectic mix of ages, with retro concert t-shirts from the line ups from the original concerts of the artists performing such as Sunnyboys, and wider including Rose Tattoo, AC/DC, The Cult. Demonstrating the fandom and love of 80s sound in the crowd on the day.
The repeated riff of Reptile was the perfect start to build the crowd for The Church to come onstage. A minor technical hiccup had the potential to almost railroad one of the truest Australian ballad, Under the Milky Way. Steve Kilbey managed to keep the crowd engaged while the roadies fixed the problem. They then delivered a stellar rendition of Under the Milky Way which the crowd sung along to under the fading light of day. Both the band and crowd got caught up in the moment with the classics Almost with You and finished with Unguarded Moment. The Church brought a surge of energy to the stage ready to build the crowd up, proving they can still rock it, and getting the crowd energised for what was next to come.
It was evident from the moment Iva Davies walked onto stage with his signature black Fender, that everyone knew we were in for a night of classic rock hits. Australian rock royalty and hall-of famer, Iva Davies, together with a Stratocaster is as iconic as another Australian duo, vegemite and cheese.
Icehouse opened with their namesake song, Icehouse. The sax solos expected from an 80s band were delivered by Glenn Reither in hits such as Hey Little Girl and Touch the Fire. If the crowd weren’t already enjoying the night, Electric Blue soon got them in the mood.
The falsetto delivered by Michael Paynter in Man of Colours and Touch the Fire was out of this world and took these songs to a whole new level. Considering Michael was only born just before these songs were released – he knows how to adopt the 80s style and make it his own.
No introduction was required as drummer Paul Wheeler kicked off with a soft drum beat, the crowd knew the unofficial Australian anthem was about to start, Great Southern Land. Now was the moment for everyone to celebrate being Australian and what it means to them. The passion in the dancing and singing was a stand out moment.
I didn’t realise how good how many songs I knew and how many good songs they had over time. I walked away going I knew every song and I realised how many quality songs and hits that Icehouse and Flowers have done.
The band is from an era when music was honest. The sound you get live on stage is the same as what you would have on your stereo at home.
Icehouse proved they can still rock and do it well. They haven’t changed over the years and Iva Davies’ voice hasn’t aged at all. His voice and the music of Icehouse is timeless and if you ever get the chance to see Icehouse live – don’t miss it.
Live Review By Ilona Schultz