It was quite a brisk Tuesday night in town but that did not deter a huge crowd turning out in celebration of Icehouse’s fortieth anniversary of Great Southern Land. This was far more than just a gig or just a concert, this was a night to remember. As a fan this night to remember had everything you would expect and a few surprises. When composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist William Barton took to the stage to start proceedings with the Welcome To Country it was a highly emotive and powerful intro connecting well with what Icehouse were celebrating.
Opening with Icehouse it didn’t take long to get the bands grooving away in their seats to Walls. The band looked excitable to be playing and so much so that bass player Steve Bull took one almighty stack, fortunately he was ok and quickly got up to continue playing to which Iva Davies said “didn’t your mother tell you not to run backwards” with Steve replying “only with scissors”. The Icehouse set list was back to back hits all the way through including the likes of Electric Blue and Street Cafe. The imagery projected behind the band was awesome and connected brilliantly with the songs.
Band stalwart and guitarist Paul Gildea asked the crowd if they were still with them as there was a long way to go. Oh yeah, how good was Hey Little Girl which was followed by a song about insanity aptly titled Crazy. Next tune My Obsession was a true story about a woman named Julie and ended up being dedicated to all the Julie’s out there. No Promises was a great moment which was followed by a grumpy old man story about how products don’t last in reference to a pedal board to wasn’t working properly with Michael Paynter saying he didn’t finish his story like an old man. Paynter, this guy has some serious pipes, brought his A-game and really added something quite majestic to Touch The Fire and Man Of Colours which was played acoustically. Don’t Believe Anymore for me was one of the real powerful moments in their set complete with the sax solo intro.
The drum solo got Baby You’re So Strange rumbling a long but no doubt the highlight of the night was Great Southern Land with William Barton playing didgeridoo. This song’s enduring legacy standing forty years is incredible and will easily continue for another forty years. The connection for so many Australians to this song is as strong as it is when it first came out. Iva spoke about how Icehouse opened the Adelaide Festival of Arts back in 1998 and making the front page of the paper after selling forty five thousand tickets and over one hundred twenty thousand turned up. Iva asked for some strong singing and to imagine that the crowd was one hundred and twenty thousand strong for another one of their big hits Can’t Help Myself. Encouraging the crowd to stand and dance for the last song was an awesome sight to behold as We Can Get Together closed the main set.
The encore was full of surprises featuring cover songs of bands that they grew up with at the same time. Midnight Oil’s Put Down That Weapon was unbelievably awesome and The Angels would be proud as punch at the Icehouse touch up on Marseilles. Even on reflection Iva wished he had written those songs. I’m sure the band could of kept playing but up against a curfew there was one left with Nothing Too Serious which was fantastic way to finish a night to remember.
Adelaide Festival Review By Rob Lyon
Photo Credit: Andrew Beveridge