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It was a hot day in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley at 35 degrees and the music was even hotter. Rochford Wines at Yarra Glen played host to A Day on the Green with a perfect line-up of bands to satisfy even the most hardened music fan. They started pouring in through the gates mid-afternoon, armed with picnic baskets, eskies and blankets and fold-up chairs, claiming their positions (first in, best dressed!) and settling in for an afternoon and evening of a superlative mix of musical styles, the first of which was Australian band Machinations whose live performances have been few and far between in recent years but you couldn’t tell by the way they sounded at this gig, still as good as ever and their brand of synth-pop funk was a great way to kick off the afternoon’s festivities with songs like ‘Pressure Sway’ and ‘No Say in It’ to get everyone in the mood.
When Models hit the stage at 5pm, the crowd had swelled, the fans were ready to rock and Models did just that, opening their set with ‘Two Cabs to the Toucan’ and sounding tight. ‘Out of My Mind, Out of Sight’ and ‘I Hear Motion’ had everyone dancing and, by this stage, the crowd was definitely ready to party. So much so, in fact, that Models returned to the stage for an encore of ‘Atlantic Romantic’ after having closed the set with ‘Barbados’. An added bonus for the crowd and a rare treat from a support band at one of these gigs.
It's a shame that the sound for the first two acts was much softer than it was for the two headlining acts. At times, from the back at least, it was difficult to hear the full sound of Models’ and Machinations’ sets. There was a noticeable difference in volume when B-52s kicked off their set and, by the time Simple Minds played, the sound had improved dramatically.
By the time the B-52s rolled into action, a large portion of the crowd appeared to be as red as that Rock Lobster they sang about in that song which, yes, of course, they closed with to everyone’s delight but I digress. There were plenty of other tunes to fill the set before then. And it must be noted that the band was something of a visual delight as well. Singers Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson, dressed in vibrant reds and pink and Cindy, at least, still with that famous beehive hairdo, provided those high pitched vocals we have all come to know and love and the flamboyant Fred Schneider out front on lead vocals. While their set included numerous other great songs, it was, of course, the better-known hits like ‘Love Shack’, ‘Roam’, ‘Private Idaho’ and the previously mentioned classic, ‘Rock Lobster’ that really pumped the crowd.
What can I say about Simple Minds? The band gave a highly polished performance. From the intro of ‘Waterfront’ through to their finale, Simple Minds delivered a powerful, streamlined show that was worth the wait. I had never seen the band perform live before, although I have wanted to do so ever since interviewing lead singer Jim Kerr several years ago. And I have to say, I was very impressed. Kerr is a great front man and knows how to work the crowd. The band has been around since 1977 (yes, they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year!) so they do have an extensive back catalogue but it is the big hits like ‘Promised You a Miracle’ and ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ and ‘Sanctify Yourself’ that will forever stand in the public’s minds and that’s what everyone wanted to hear and they certainly weren’t disappointed. They finished their set with the latter and returned for a three-song encore before finishing the show with ‘New Gold Dream’.
As the crowd streamed out of the venue for the drive home, everyone seemed to be more than satisfied with their Day on the Green … even if they were as red as Rock Lobsters.
Simple Minds and B-52s continue their tour around Australia with more A Day on the Green shows and a couple of indoor concerts in Sydney and Melbourne. *Please note that Models and Machinations play at A Day on the Green shows only.
By Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2017. All rights reserved
Click here for a full list of tour dates for Simple Minds and B-52s,
including more A Day on the Green shows
as well as indoor concerts in Sydney and Melbourne,