Stars are a South Australian iconic band, formed in 1975 and disbanding in 1979. Their short career saw the band joined by guitarist/songwriter Andrew Durant in 1976 and relocating to Melbourne. Unfortunately, Andrew passed away in 1980 from cancer.

Stars reformed in 2019 with original members Mal Eastick, Roger McLachlan and Mick Pealing being joined with Nick Charles on guitar and Erik Chess on drums. Guitarist Geoff Atchison joined the band for this performance at “late notice, he only had a few weeks to learn everything” according to Mick.

Stars return to the Gov was part of the Adelaide Fringe and it is great to see The Gov supporting Fringe shows again this year. Stars arrived on stage with Mick Pealing thanking everyone “for coming out today. It just so happens we have a few tunes to play”. Opening with Time Stand Still from the 2018 album, Boundary Rider the band were on song right from the beginning. With older songs Land of Fortune, Look After Yourself and Paradise (“not the Renee Geyer version, bless her”) quickly following, it became obvious we were in for a career spanning set. Mick also told everyone that the song Paradise was probably Andy Durant’s finest song. With the gentle country rock sound flowing through the room, we were told early on, they were just “easing our way into the afternoon”.

The first set gave us songs off the debut album Paradise the follow up Land of Fortune as well as 2018’s Boundary Rider. They even played the ‘B’-Side’ to Mighty Rock, Jupiter’s Creek. As if a sign for what was to come later, the tempo picked up with the boogie sounds of Pick up the Pieces and Red Neck Boogie to close out set one.

Although starting set two with just Mick and Mal on stage for All Good Things, the sound did in fact become rockier. They dedicated a new song, Driving Hungry, from the latest album Once More Around the Sun, to all the taxi drivers in the house. Taxi drivers must have been busy this afternoon as there were none in the house, so they dedicated it to the guy who came by taxi dancing down the front. A song for truck drivers followed in Song for the Road.

Micks Dream contained one of the best lyrics I have heard for a while, “My Dreams are in colour/but my life is in black and white”. Finishing the set with a great song, Big Wet, Long Dry from their new album, the band then left the stage but we all knew they would be back. They hadn’t played Mighty Rock yet.

Back they indeed came and launched into Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way with each member “getting the chance to do their bit”. Roger McLachlan’s bass solo sounded heavy while the guitarists all gave some classic riffs, with Geoff Atchison throwing in some Spoonful. Eric Chess’s drum solo consisted of a single beat and standing up with hands in the air. Classic.

Rocky Mountain Way gave way to Mighty Rock, their 1977 hit single and a final “thanks”.

Stars are still hot property live. Mick Pealing’s voice is still magnificent and all the musicians were first class. I was surprised we didn’t get the first two singles in Quick on the Draw and With a Winning Hand, but with the wealth of material they had to choose from and played, I am not complaining.

Hopefully they will be back soon.

Live Review By Geoff Jenke

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