Red Hot Summer Tour Series 2
34 degree temperature and blistering sun didn’t hold the crowd back from Rochford Wines’ picturesque landscape on Sunday afternoon.
Bachelor Girl appeared just before 1pm with the sun’s first casualty: keyboardist James Roche’s iPad had shut down due to the heat prior to the first tune of the day. They pressed on regardless, opening the event with ‘Blown Away’. Technical issues during ‘Permission to Shine’ caused some angst, but Tania Doko continued on, and the rest of the set went along without a hitch, delighting the fans in the massive crowd with singable hits performed flawlessly.
Next up to the plate was Daryl Braithwaite, who struggled through his set, both with engaging the crowd (who seemed to only want to hear ‘Horses’) and with his diminishing vocal range. A number of Braithwaite’s songs are no longer singable for him in their original key – something that should be rectified if he wants to continue performing. One rather comical moment was when he tried to teach the crowd to sing a backing vocal line, which required holding one note for an extended period of time, in 34 degree heat… (what could go wrong?)
Noiseworks took to the stage next, and ramped up the volume and energy with ‘Touch’. Jon Stevens’ vocals seem to never waver, regardless of age. Blessed with a range that most 20 year olds would dream of, he remains Australia’s top rock voice, and heading back into Noiseworks territory allowed him to really take it for a spin. This set was the first to really get the crowd engaged, and it felt at this point like the show was truly underway. A rendition of ‘Heart and Soul’ dedicated to Stuart Fraser was a touching moment, and the finishing of the set with ‘No Lies’, ‘Hot Chilli Woman’ and Zeppelin’s ‘Rock and Roll’ built the rock vibes to full throttle. Noiseworks may have been around for almost 40 years, but they are just as rocking as ever.
Cue Iva Davies heading up Icehouse for another trip down memory lane… this set was full of hits, which is not difficult with a back catalogue as huge as theirs. The crowd loved joining in for this whole set, and because Davies performs his songs as they were recorded, they were singable for the now loosened-up punters. Once again, Michael Paynter shone in Icehouse’s set, playing keys, guitar and singing BVs, and when he stepped into lead vocal for Man of Colours particularly (allowing Iva Davies to play oboe), he made the tune absolutely mesmerizing. The song of the set though, was ‘Hey Little Girl’ with its full sound, and brooding vibe.
The headliner was now poised for an engaging set, with a lubricated audience, and the sun finally retreating a little to provide some weather relief. Simple Minds took a bow before beginning their set, and the crowd were up on their feet ready to party. It was relatively short-lived however, as the engagement factor by this band never really got past 3rd gear. Opening with ‘Waterfront’, the crowd were keen, but the energy waned for the rest of the set, until finally lifting for the song everyone had been waiting for ‘Don’t you (forget about me)’. Their other main hits ‘Alive and Kicking’ and ‘Sanctify Yourself’ were kept til the encore, but would’ve been better placed to keep the audience’s interest and energy up earlier in the set. Even Jim Kerr (vocalist) could sense the crowd’s energy waning as he kept repeating ‘we’re just getting warmed up’, again and again, up until there were only two tunes left in their set. Simple Minds seem to perform their songs with new arrangements and different melodic choices, which means those who know their songs are unable to sing along, and the songs felt unrecognizable. Their set was fine for a fan, but they had trouble keep a crowd of ‘general 90s music enthusiasts’ engaged.
All in all, the Red Hot Summer show was an enjoyable afternoon out in the Yarra Valley sun. Noiseworks and Icehouse brought the performances of the day.
Words by Heather Packett
Images by Lucas Packett