THE ANGELS AT THE PAVILION – GYMPIE QLD 15th MARCH 2009

Well, this is it folks. The Angels ‘Night Attack’ tour of North Queensland was about to come to an end and, at the risk of sounding corny, it definitely was ‘over the top’. There was no place more fitting for the finale than the home of The Muster, Gympie. The venue was The Pavillion in Gympie’s showgrounds. The audience was a diverse assortment of ages and personalities. Most, probably as expected, over 45, wanting to relive their youth spent in smoke-filled suburban pubs, soaking up their weekend dose of Aussie-bred rock and roll. Yes, that’s right, kids – I said ‘smoke-filled’. My, how things have changed! But there were also many younger fans in the crowd who had come to see the band for the first time, perhaps fuelled by their parents’ stories of those legendary days. As anyone lucky enough to be there would know, The Angels represented the very essence of the Australian pub rock scene in the 70’s and 80’s. The band created their own trademark with their unique style of driving guitar riffs, dark lyrics and Doc’s energetic and mesmerising showmanship, contrasting with the very staid performance of an unmoving Rick Brewster, his eyes shaded by dark glasses. Indeed, at the time, there was no other band quite like them and tonight’s audience was eager to find out if the old magic was still there. The atmosphere was electric as the opening riffs of ‘After The Rain’ whipped the crowd into frenzied anticipation of what was to follow. As Doc strutted on to the stage, the roar of the crowd almost drowned out the music. Yes, this was the band they had been waiting so long to see in action once more: the much-loved line-up of The Angels, who reigned supreme in this country 30 years ago. And the guys didn’t disappoint. Such classic rock tunes as ‘Take A Long Line’, ‘I Ain’t The One’ and ‘Comin’ Down’ still sound every bit as good as they did back in the day and had the audience counting the beat with air-punching fists. There was a momentary lapse in security when a male member of the audience decided to run on to the stage and dive head first into the crowd but the band carried on, undaunted by the unscheduled sideshow. The crowd swayed slowly from side to side as the band took the tone down a notch or two for one of their rare love songs, ‘Be With You’ , building up to the powerful and chunky chorus. But it was the band’s anthem song, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’ that had the fans at their most vocal, shouting out the now famous alternate lyrics ‘No way, get f*cked, f*ck off!’ It should be pointed out that these beloved lyrics, chanted with such heartfelt enthusiasm in pubs around the nation, are never actually sung by Doc himself. The story goes that they were the ‘brainchild’ of fans at a gig one night and the refrain kind of stuck. Such is the stuff legends are made of! And the song never fails to live up to expectations. The set was like a live ‘Best Of’ collection, reaching back into time with songs like ‘Who Rings The Bell’. Although named the ‘Night Attack’ tour, the set included only a couple of songs from the album, namely ‘Fashion and Fame’ and ‘City Out Of Control’ which they played in the encore. Hits such as ‘No Secrets’ and ‘Shadow Boxer’ were crowd favourites but the highlight of the show (at least, for this fan) was the band’s closing song, the immortal ‘Marseilles’. Doc had the crowd eating out of his hand and they were loving it! Yes, the magic, most definitely, was still there. After a short break, the guys responded to the deafening cheers and applause from the audience by returning for their encore. ‘City Out of Control’ featured an amazing guitar solo from Rick and the band rounded it all off nicely with the bouncy ‘Can’t Shake It’. It was refreshing to see Doc take the time, at the end of the show, to acknowledge everyone who had worked with them on the tour. When The Angels made the decision last year to reform with the ever popular line-up of vocalist Doc Neeson, brothers Rick Brewster on lead guitar, John Brewster on rhythm guitar, Chris Bailey on bass and Graham ‘Buzz’ Bidstrup on drums, fans around the country rejoiced at the news. Over the years, there had been a lot of drama behind the scenes for the guys, both individually and as a band and their loyal fans never took any of it lightly. We watched and waited patiently as health issues were overcome and legal issues sorted out. It had been a long time between drinks, so to speak, and it was a reunion that many believed would never happen. I, for one, am very grateful that it did!

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