More Than Just Nostalgia - Simple Minds, The B-52s Bring Their A-Game To First Aus Show

3 February 2017 | 3:20 pm | Daniel Cribb

"Nothing beat the atmosphere when the house lights came on and every last person was echoing the chorus lines of 'Don't You'."

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“Let's forget politics and go to Mesopotamia,” The B-52s frontman Fred Schneider yelled after bringing up the awkward phone call between Trump and Turnbull that had been dominating headlines that day.

The new wave/art punk masters were on fire from the moment they graced the stage, with Schneider’s unique and quirky vocals darting between the trademark harmonies of fellow singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.
Pierson was quick to take lead, dishing up short, sharp bursts of angst-fuelled vocals as the trio engaged in corny and infectious dance moves, dressed in attire ripped straight from the ‘80s.

“Is there glue on your seats?” Schneider barked. Unfortunately, the energy offered up from the band during songs like Lava and Is That You Mo-Dean? wasn’t matched by the audience until Private Idaho, Love Shack and Rock Lobster rolled around. It's been almost 40 years since the Deadbeat Club played their first show in Georgia and they’re still just as compelling and charming as ever.

The bubbly tone set in place by The B-52s disappeared with the sun, as the vibe went from picnic pop to stadium rock with Simple Minds’ stage overflowing with smoke trying to hide a mountain of equipment.

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"You lucky people, what's it like living in this part of the world?" frontman Jim Kerr began through the haze.

Chunky bass gripped the audience and reverb-drenched snare bellowed up the banks of Kings Park for Waterfront.

Ambient guitar leads and pacing keys set the mood, and Kerr was the perfect embodiment of a classy rocker, dressed in a casual suit and scarf with vocals that toed the line between melodic and rough.

The bass continued to be a driving force with synth looping its way throughout killer riffs from Charlie Burchill, but it wasn’t long before Kerr demanded the spotlight again for Love Song. Everyone was on their feet, mesmerised by the flurry of lights and wave of constant noise relentlessly and repeatedly crashing over them.
Down on one knee and winking his way through the front row, Kerr was dripping with sweat (perhaps that scarf wasn’t such a great idea after all), leaving the stage briefly to dry off while backing vocalist Sarah Brown led the intro of Book Of Brilliant Things, resting on nothing more than piano and synth - a welcome relief from the onslaught of noise.

Kerr took position on the edge of the drum riser - one if many raised platforms occupied by various members - before leaping back into close proximity of his tipsy and adoring fans for Someone Somewhere In Summertime.

Nostalgia came in thick and fast during Real Life, with its hollow verses, big fills and harmony-drenched choruses, the latter of which was courteous of Welsh multi-instrumentalist Catherine AD, who came down from her platform at the back of the stage for the song.

While upbeat classics like Promised You A Miracle were a Glittering Prize, it was ballads Alive & Kicking and Let It All Come Down that really did justice to the talent of each individual member. With that said, nothing beat the atmosphere when the house lights came on and every last person was echoing the chorus lines of Don't You.