Friday, July 2, 2010



I can only recall 2 major events in 2000. The First was Culture Club and the Village People and Psuedo Echo. It was Saturday 26 February at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. It was a strange mix of crowd and an interesting concert. Psuedo Echo were indeed the standout of the group - truly!! That did not mean the others were bad, just Pseudo Echo were really good...really!! It was like their music was ahead of its time and time had caught up, cannot explain it anymore than that, but there you have it. The Village People were the dodgy part of the concert, they sounded ok, looked ok and were just a little bit too old and too sad, having said that it was The Village People (well possibly only some of them!) and we did do the YMCA!!!! Culture Club were good, but I was disappointed, they should have been better. George's voice was excellent, but this is a man who really does have a better than excellent voice, so that was a shame and it seemed the band just did not have their stuff together, it was worth seeing, but a shame it could have been better!!!

The second was The Cure, Saturday 14 October, also Sydney Entertainment Centre. This was the second time I had seen The Cure and this was a shockingly bad concert, possibly the worst I have even been to. I really like The Cure and adore Robert Smith, but I suppose I gravitate more to their popier tunes, and as much as I appreciate their more goth/let's slit our wrists and cut our throats tunes, I would prefer the 'healthy' mix of both, which is what I got at their previous concert. This concert, was goth, goth, goth all the fact it was too much goth for the goths. Each song, drearily melded into the next, you really could not tell which one started and which one ended, I was bored out of my freakin' mind! I looked around and noticed a lot of empty seats (that had not been empty earlier) and a hell of a lot of goths ASLEEP!!!! I even went for a walk part way through the concert (something I would NEVER do) and noticed lots of goths in the foyer, chatting and drinking....very bizarre. They did not play a single hit, expect for A Forest. I have no idea what was going on, none of them seemed too happy to even be on stage, I know Smith co-wrote a lot of the songs and some original members were no longer in the band, possibly he was not allowed to sing them, I dunno, after 2 hours and no end in sight, we left, no idea how long it went on afterwards and what we missed out on, all I can say it was a real shame!


2001 was another quietish year. Caught Henry Rollins in April at the Civic, it was one of his spoken word tours and baring the odd bit of misogny (expected anyway) he was pretty good.

Saw the legendary Russell Morris at Wests in June, he was great, very entertaining and sounded good too. Sweet, sweet love still stands in my mind today, love that song!

In August I was in the US, and whilst I had a fabulous and entertaining time, the things I write about in this blog were few and far between. I saw a mini concert of Melissa Etheridge - quite excellent - as part of the Today Shows summer concerts. Had a tour of 30 Rock and saw the Saturday Night Live stage amongst other cool this day I still remember the perky guide that led the tour, I swear to god a female version of Kenneth on the show 30 Rock - that Tina Fey she knows her stuff!!!! I stalked Lauren Bacall and Woody Allen (I knew where they lived) but no sightings...although I did meet a Woody impersonator in a bank, that was funny. I saw Robert Sean Leonard (Dead Poet's Society and House) in The Music Man - come on I am a Librarian touring America, what else would I see???? It was excellent, and I had fabulous seats, front row, middle upstairs. I hung around the stagedoor of The Producers a lot, but to no avail, tickets could not be gotten for love nor money. I attended church in Harlem, if we had cool, swingin' churches like that over here, I might just be able to find god!!!!

I toured Graceland, that was like a religion in fact, incredibly cool - one of the best days of my life (and I was not that much of an Elvis fan before). I sucked in all the talent at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, watched Shamu NOT kill anyone at Sea World in Florida, had my photo taken with Eyore at Disney World, saw Hitchcock in 3D at Universal Studios and also spent time with astronauts at Cape Canavaral. That only tips the iceberg of the trip, but pretty much sums up the entertainment aspects that I would write about here on my blog!

And I think I saw U2 in November, I have seen them about 3 or 4 times now and each blends into the other, which sounds bad, but is not. They are THE best band to see live, no other comes close - no matter how bad your seats are, you feel like Bono is singing directly to you.


Mary and I enjoyed The Vagina Monologues at the Civic in April, we laughed A LOT and only blushed a little bit!

Diana and I saw Alex Lloyd and a young Eskimo Joe at Newcastle Workers Club (or whatever it was called that year). Alex was amazing (ha!) and Eskimo Joe excellent, you could tell they were going to be stars.

Bell Shakespeare hit town as usual in June, Richard III and I think my favourite production by the company, we had close seats and I am still working out how the blood appeared on an early victim!!! Excellent stuff!!!

Oasis came to Newcastle in October- unbelievable. I loved, loved, loved them, still do, but let's face it they shat on themselves didn't they? It was a great night and I loved every minute of it, truly a night to remember. Favourite songs, She's electric, Champagne Supernova!


Saw a good little play at the Pan Theatre in town early Feb, a David Brown play on Lenny Bruce. Our seats were close so it was ultra intense. It was a long time ago, but I was very impressed, although Brown's plays are usually very good!

Karen and I took Dad (or he took us?) to see The Rolling Stones in Feb also - the Basketball Stadium (unsure of exact name) at Olympic Park. It was a blast, Dad is a huge fan and subsequently we are too. We prefer the earlier bluesy songs and they delivered. It was a range of songs from old to the more 'modern' ones. Keith was soooo Keef and Mick had energy that was boundless, I also thought Charlie was very refined and cool. I truly cannot remember many songs, but I recall hearing some old dude really getting into some album track (from Sticky Fingers, not a hit, cannot remember the title) and thinking boy, he must be enjoying himself, and it was Dad, that was pretty funny. The Stones can sometimes be a cliche but they really were great, and give a great show, to deliver what they did at their age is phenomenal, I know we all had a good time, and I know Dad especially did!

Amanda and I attended the Grand Prix in March - my second, we had a ball in Melbourne and enjoyed the race, cannot remember who won, probably Schmumi!

Saw The Violent Femmes again in April at Newcastle Workers Club, as always they were fantastic, always a good night out!

And on the basis of their performance with Culture Club, we saw Pseudo Echo at Club Phoenix at Mayfield, what crack up, they were really good!!!

On Friday 12 September I finally saw Lou Reed, in Newcastle at the Civic no less!! The first time I lined up for tickets and was first in line - I was impressed with myself that day!!! Lou was incredibly cool and sung everything and anything, it was on the back of his Raven stuff, so a lot of Poe to be had, but that was ok. He had a Tai Chi master on stage with him, which was a little disconcerting at times - we were close, but he sung great. Perfect Day (and Sweet Jane) was my highlight. He also had Antony from Antony and the Johnsons as a back up singer, he had the most sublime voice, as we all now know!

A few weeks later a group of us trotted over to the University and saw a performance of The Breakfast Club, the play - it was excellent, most enjoyable.

Last performance of the year was reserved for the funky cool of Prince. Friday 24 October at the Sydney Entertainment Centre and he rocked the joint, think I was on my feet for much of the night, he played everything and was loving every minute of it. This was the second time I saw him and he was as good, if not better, LOVED his purple guitar.


I finally saw David Bowie on Friday 20 February at Sydney Entertainment Centre. I have been a fan of Bowie's for a long time. My first experience of him was the Ashes to Ashes filmclip on Countdown and it kinda scared me - I don't like clowns, they scare me! The first vinyl I bought with my own money was Let's Dance. Now I went with Nolene (and Vince) who is a first grade fan and seen him a zillion times!, so I was in the minor league, but I still had a marvellous time. He was the consumate performer, gorgeous, entertaining and delivered - what more can you ask!!!!

Karen and I saw Swan Lake early August, it was fabulous, it was the St Petersburg Ballet of course, and I was amazed. Our grandmother took us to a lot of similar things when we were very little, and this was our first time back at the Ballet, it was lovely!!

Late September saw me back at my old stomping ground, The Cambridge. I dragged Amanda and Rachel, who quelle horreur, had never been, I think they were a little concerned about the venue. We scored the hot seats (that back in the day we rarely got), top table at the front upper section - woo-hoo!! There was a local dude first, name escapes me, but he was great. Then the gorgeous Dave McCormack, I loved Custard, but had never seen them, Dave was funny, cute (VERY cute), entertaining and talented, he had the audience in the palm of his hand, singing all his ditties and just being Dave. He also did this pisstake of A-Ha's Take on me, which was very funny, but was one of those you had to be there moments! The main act of the night (although I would say Dave was more enjoyable!) was Tim Freedman, this was a retrospective night, just him, his stories and a grand piano - it was great, but after Dave, a little serious!

Early October brought me a first, Ultra Swing Lounge. I have mentioned them many times previous, but this first time WAS the best. The three leads are magnificent swing singers, and not only did they sing in the style, they had a Ratpack attitude to go with it, jokes, martinis and charisma. There were stories, songs, dancing and a Swinging Big Swing Band. I remember they started singing in front of a red curtain (you had no idea what to expect), and then you heard the big band (not so big sounding at that point) and then the curtains pulled back (went up??) and the band stood up and nearly deafened us, it was exhilarating and fantastic. They were all authentic and great, and somehow each time I have seen them, they have never lived up to that very first moment, the band always good, never quite packed the punch they packed that night! Nevertheless, do not miss out on this experience if you have never seen them, it is still worth it.

Later in the month the family attended Star City and were thoroughly entertained by Ben Elton's We Will Rock You. The singers, the songs, sets etc were fantastic, although I recall Dad being disappointed Ben was not there!!!

Mary and I headed off to Melbourne in November for a shopping/girly weekend, but also to see The Producers - ok it was not Broderick and Lane in NY, but it was pretty stunning nonetheless. The sets were amazing and the songs fabulous. I adore Mel Brooks, he is a true genius and has a damn good sense of humour, baudiness and all! Tom Burlinson and Reg Livermore were the leads with a cameo by Bert Newton who was hilarious. The humour is great, but really it is the songs, Springtime for Hitler is one of those bizarre little ditties you just cannot get out of your head!

I was not back long and Vince, Nolene and I headed off to The State Theatre to see Elvis Costello. A long time fan I was excited to see him, he was great and although we had seats towards the back of the theatre, his charisma reached and touched you all the same. It's great to see musicians you have respected for years and have them deliver.



Mary and I saw Chris Jagger at Honeysuckle on Saturday 5 February. Chris IS the brother of Mick and looks amazingly like him and is a blues musician. We were very impressed with Chris, he was fantastic and along with the most wonderful boogie woogie piano player had us jiving away all night

In March I saw REM for the second time, again at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. Mary and Amanda came along for the ride, it was sublime and stunning and that was just Michael Stipe, ha ha! This was their tour without Bill Berry, but you would never have known (poor Bill). They were tight, played every song you can imagine and then some and left us feeling happy and shiny (but no, they did not play that.....thankfully, it is the one song I can live without hearing!). Oh and some f-wit kept spilling beer down my back all night...crowds just are not what they used to be...

May took us back to Ultra Swing at the Civic, and as always a stunning night that just transports you to another time and place...sigh.

Amanda and I headed to see The Finn Brothers at the Civic on Sunday 17 July. We are both huge Crowded House and Split Enz fans and it was a great night. I do like some of Tim's solo work, but Neil is the genius and writes the perfect pop song, sometimes Tim takes over and is just a little too much, but he showed great restraint on the night and I did not get too antsy with him. It was not long after Paul Hester had committed suicide so there was a haunting tribute to him and we all shed a tear for a lost friend.

Saturday 10 September saw us back at the Civic for our annual Bell Shakespeare dose with Measure for Measure. I cannot recall this one, but I think the beginning of some less than ordinary productions.

Saturday 12 November was a historic night for Keryl and I, we saw The Goodies stage show, ok it was just Tim Brook-Taylor and Graeme Garden live. Bill Oddie was off doing his bird watching show in England, but they had a live (read pre-taped) cross to him. It was them, looking old but still feisty and funny, telling stories of making the show, amusing antecdotes and recreating a few skits and songs...yes we did do the Funky Gibbon. It was not a long show, but it was a great trip down memory lane and one I am glad we took. Bill was my favourite though, so a shame not to have seen him.

A week later we hit the Cambridge for a celebration - 20 years of The Porkers! It was a crazy night, and mostly a new crowd of people and not too many familiar faces, but we got in and kicked it up and had a blast - they played all the oldies and some new stuff, and still knew how to rock and ska it out! The Porkers are probably one of the bands I have seen the most live and that is over the 20 years, if you like ska music, they are to be seen, always fun and I have many a memory of seeing them at The Cambridge, Tatts, and The Palais amongst others.


I saw Madame Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House on Saturday 21 January. It was a fabulous production and one of the finest operas I have seen. I was impressed and Rosario Dawson (swoon) was the lead. It was a magnificient afternoon and incredibly moving, I am such a sucker for these sad operas and always shed a tear or two.

February brought Billy Connolly to town, and we had a family evening and all had a grand old time, laughing and trying not to wet ourselves. If you only see one comedian, see Billy...

Keryl and I had a sublime evening of classical music, Mozart in fact, back in April. I love hearing classical music live, watching the orchestra, seeing the musicians expressions, listening to each part and just meditating to their beauty.

May was busy with Ultra Swing and Circus Oz and as always they both delivered. Later in the month Mary, Keryl and myself saw the play, Doubt. It is a thought provoking piece, if you have seen the Meryl Streep movie you will know what I mean and the play is more subtle than the movie. Had us discussing the options for a while. The month was rounded out with the thumping groove of the reggae master, Afro Moses. Giving Bob a run for his money, this gorgeous man can not only sing fantastically, but beat the drum pretty darn hot too!

June was another busy month, with an Arabian ballet of 1001 nights - fabulous costumes, dance and hypnotic music. The following weekend was Split Enz at Sydney Entertainment Centre - their reunion tour and we had seats close to the front, we all (Karen, Mal, Amanda and myself) had smiles on our faces all night, they just kept churning it out, song after song, all having a grand time on stage. The month was rounded out by the travelling comedy festival (so so) and Merchant of Venice (Bell Shakespeare).

Porgy and Bess came to the civic in late July, an American company and stunning voices, I was in my element at this as it is one of my favourite operas. And I adore the Gershwins...I have always said if I had to pick ONE song that I could only ever listen to (and if you know me, you would know how incredibly difficult that would be) I would pick Rhapsody in Blue! So we got lots of cotton pickn' songs, It ain't necessarily so and ....Summertime....oh my!!!!

The next opera was in November and the highly anticipated Anthony Warlow/David Hobson version of Pirates of Penzance. Anthony was originally scheduled to play the pirate king years ago when he had cancer and had to pull out, so finally the time had come to revisit. He had a modern Johnny Depp/Captain Jack Sparrow twist to the king, but it worked. And Hobson was a perfect Frederick. Great, funny performances in a great, funny opera. Was a true delight!

November brought more music...U2 at the ACER arena, for a spectacular night under a November sky that threatened and at some point delivered rain. The boys were in fine form and Bono surprised us all (well ok me) by singing the Pavarotti parts of Passenger...I was beyond impressed and felt shivers up my spine. U2 always deliver and I think this was their finest concert. A few weeks later we were at the Belmont 16s to see Mondo Rock - ok not as spectacular, but still fine. Ross Wilson cut it on stage after all these years and I was excited to see James Black - my fav (after Julia - who I want to be!) from RocKwiz - up there on keyboards. You forgot how many songs you knew and it was a good night, although could have done without the middle aged boozed up bogans who seem to frequent that club.


LA TRAVIATA - Saturday 3 February - Sydney Opera House

This was great, one of the better opera's I have seen, opulent staging, great music and acting. Totally enthralling.

DUNGEON BIG BAND - Sunday 18 February - Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre

The venue is incredibly ordinary, but I would not expect anything less from Council given their track record with architecture. It was the first time I had seen anything there, and the place has been open for a few years. The only good thing about it is that it is a 5 minute walk from my house. However, the Dungeon Big Band were fabulous, they had some singing but it was mostly great instrumentals, cannot remember actual songs but I recall they selected less popular ones, although most I did know. I would see the Band again in a flash, not so interested in going back to the Centre....although I did just last year and performed my singing exam in one of the back rooms.....a totally disasterous event....the less said the better.

ALCINA - Saturday 10 March - Sydney Opera House

This was not one of our better choices, who knew Handel did Opera? On paper it sounded quite amazing, a baroque opera, set on a magical island with amazing set design and dance interludes etc etc. I mean, who does not love the is a beautiful instrument you just do not hear enough these days? Well, I now know why, an hour or so of harpsichord and indeed baroque is gorgeous, after that, fingernails down a chalk board and this Opera goes for over 3 hours!!!!!!! It was a looooooong afternoon.

The set was amazing, beautiful, a lot to look at, but the story was slow and dreary, the singing lovely but sleep inducing and the dance whimsical. At least in each of the breaks (there were 3!!!) we could go outside and look over the harbour and let the cool breeze wake us up. Look it was pretty and sweet, but just stretched out way too long and the music too repetitive and sleep inducing!

ULTRA SWING LOUNGE - Saturday 31 March - Civic Theatre

I have reported on Ultra Swing before and as always amazing, great music, set, singing, humour - the whole package, wish I lived in the 30s and 40s, life would have been grand!

MACBETH - Saturday 23 June - Civic Theatre

This was the worst ever Shakespeare I had seen, the few years prior to this Bell Shakespeare were irritating me, John Bell did not seem to have as much to do with the company, Anna Volska less roles and the great actors that seemed to act within the ranks were no longer in the plays. This year was always going to be a breaking point, it is just a shame it had to be Macbeth.

Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare, it was the first play I was introduced to and I fell in love...I mean, how can you not, witches and mystery, trees that walked (So Lord of the Rings), Lady Macbeth (a truly delightfully evil character with OCD nonetheless!), gorgeous Macduff, plus murder and betrayal and all the things that make Shakespeare wonderful.

So the witches emptied their plasic shopping bags of bits and pieces into a pissy looking cauldron!!! Plastic shopping bags, I nearly fell over the balcony! Yeah, we had marvellous seats upstairs, front row middle. The staging left a LOT to be desired and the acting was shocking. The sound was not great and a lot of dialogue could not be heard and then there was Lady Macbeth!!!!

One of the strongest roles for a woman and she gave the weakest, patheticist (is that a word?) interpretation I have ever seen, I was appalled. I recall Mary texting during the performance and Keryl falling asleep.

LA LA LUNA - Friday 3 August - Civic Theatre

This was one of those plays you take a bet on and in this case it paid off immensely. A one man 'silent' play about what happens when the light globe that lights the moon goes out! The moons caretaker has to resolve this problem! It had slapstick, juggling, magic, and almost circus like sensibilities. One of the most amazing things I have seen, probably ever, and the guy doing the show was magnificient, a real throw back to classic vaudeville.

WILDE TALES - Friday 10 August - Civic Theatre

This was a range of Oscar Wilde plays aimed at Children and beautifully delivered.

KING LEAR - Sunday 19 August - Playhouse

This was a local production and pretty good, some of the acting left a little to be desired, but I believe I enjoyed it more than Bell's productions!

UNDERLAND - Saturday 1 September - Civic Theatre

This remarkable Sydney Dance Company Ballet was inspired by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and featured their music. It was truly amazing, and stunning and visceral; and at less than 60 minutes, not nearly long enough. Keryl and I were transfixed and I adored how they interwoved great songs with both modern and classical moves.

SHOUT - Saturday 8 September - Griffin Duncan Theatre

This was a lot of fun, we had been lucky at work to have a preview of some of the songs prior to the show opening, so knew to expect something special. Sure, it was an amateur production, but the talent and enthusiasm certainly made up for that. The songs and costumes were magnicifient, had us all rocking in our seats!

GONDALIERS - Saturday 13 October - Sydney Opera House

Another Opera Australia Gilbert and Sullivan production and whilst not as slick and fabulous as Pirates of Penzance, this was still a great afternoon of Opera.

DICKENS' WOMEN - Tuesday 23 October - Civic Theatre

My goodness - this was an evening to behold!!! Miriam Margolyes and her one woman show about the women in Dickens' novels. She was breathtaking, haunting, formidable, funny, clever and purely stunning. Miriam encompassed each and every character with love and humility, bravado and amusement. She was a force to be reckoned with and it was an achievement of brilliance and I love Dickens I was in heaven.

CROWDED HOUSE - Monday 5 November - Sydney Entertainment Centre

This was their reunion tour, although without Paul it seemed a little wrong I must be honest. After seeing them arrive - by chance - that afternoon, we were pumped and had fabulous seats also, so close you could almost touch Neil...sigh! It was a great night and they played all their hits but some new stuff, Amanda and I loved it, but I really missed Hessie....'tis the truth!