Cold Chisel, Grinspoon – 15 Dec

Grinspoon seemed like a fitting support for the One Night Stand tour, reuniting to pay homage to some of their predecessors in Oz rock. While their energy and Phil Jamieson’s free-spirited nature were contagious, the set’s fast pace seemed to come from Jamieson wanting it to be over as quickly as possible. Before Jamieson sprinted off the stage they did a great rendition of INXS’s Don’t Change, it had a funky, dirty pop vibe, but the lack of kinship between the band distracted the music. At one point Jamieson brought Scott Russo (Unwritten Law) on stage for some awkward vocal backing. It was equal parts entertainment and confusion.

Diehard Cold Chisel fans sported the band’s entire apparel range spanning the four decades of their existence. They were rewarded with a blood-, sweat- and tear-stained performance. Jimmy Barnes’ voice was raspier and deeper than ever, and while he didn’t have the range afforded by his glory days, the pain in his iconic wail made him appear like the ‘white man’s’ James Brown.

Andy Bickers’ sax on Rising Sun bellowed through the arena, every foot tapped and every face beamed. His intermittent presence was always welcomed and his harmonica and sax skills layered the shit out of an already magical music display.

Ian Moss was consistently flawless; his ability to modestly weave through tracks but then dominate solos and lyrics was incredible. Barnes and Moss had playful chemistry, often embracing and sharing the microphone with their sweaty heads pressed against one another. Like two brothers it was all about encouragement and there was no room for ego. Moss’ version of Ray Charles’ Georgia On My Mind that was his climatic moment, the spotlight beamed off his guitar as the chords glided atop soul-soothing keys. You wanted to bottle the sound.

A clearly well thought out setlist had the crowd on the edge of their seat, but also leveraging on Barnes’ need for a sporadic breather. The odd new track made the crowd idle, casually sipping their drinks in stark contrast to the classics; except for track Lost in which Barnes’ current state of being really shone through. It was beautiful to see his evolution as an artist just within that track alone.

But of course it was the classics that the Chisel fans wanted, and they’ve been around too long to know that self-indulgence and delusions of grandeur do not keep fans for 40 years, so they rolled them out. InBow River, every lyric from Barnes’ mouth was like a grenade, if he had dropped the mic right then and there, the crowd would have been satisfied. It was clear he was digging deep and the respect levels were at fever pitch.

Cold Chisel solidly cemented their name in Australian culture for their allegiance to representing the battler with a pervasive message of hope and never giving up. After leaving the One Night Stand tour there wasn’t enough juice in the tank to get home — so as has always been the lesson: you go hard, or go home!

Jimmy and Mossy

Photo credit: Rohan Anderson.

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