"APIA really really want you to know that they sell insurance - it was as subtle as a swollen prostate and probably as comfortable."
From the obvious tour name, to the 'social media' competitions and then the lowering of a projected screen of looped powerpoint presentation advertisements, APIA really really want you to know that they sell insurance — it was as subtle as a swollen prostate and probably as comfortable.
Despite not having a great deal of mainstream crossover since Paul Mercurio last strapped on a pair of bedazzled chaps, the squeak-sized John Paul Young is spritely as hell for a 65-year-old. Sure, he takes the odd breather between tracks to throw a glance at Pearl in the second row, but the two-finger-folded mic grip holds true as he swung away to a banging version of Yesterday's Hero to the point of rumbling the hall floors, it's obvious now that #JPY4SITG needs to happen.
It was a tough act to follow for Kate Ceberano but ever the consummate performer she capitalised on the post-JPY energy to electrify Pash and Bedroom Eyes. Somehow Ceberano's powerhouse vocals have continued to improve with age, though she doesn't quite capture the room (possibly due to an extremely washed out vocal towards the end of her set), you can't deny she still loves the stage.
A 20-minute champers break gave the artists a chance to kindly sign for fans in the lobby while APIA continue to remind us that they are most definitely a thing — by this stage it only seemed a matter of time before Beethoven's Ninth bellowed out for a quick dose of the Ludovico Technique.
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As it turns out, people still go absolutely apeshit for Daryl Braithwaite, the freshly pickled crowd emerged from the break with mini moshpits forming at stage left and right — all was going swimmingly with Braithwaite eating it up as he strutted the stage with a Mercury-esque half mic stand for Rise. Braithwaite knows how to wrap the crowd around his finger and he damn sure knows people love to hear a local football team name, unfortunately though Dutch courage can hit hard and a bumrush of the stage from an overzealous filly breaks up the dance party just as The Horses hit its stride.
Remember a time before INXS pissed away their legacy with reality TV? Well, for a brief moment, Jon Stevens had the testicular fortitude to step into the enormous shoes left behind from Michael Hutchence, and he actually did a bloody good job given the circumstances. It's a fact most had forgotten until Stevens roared into the almighty singalong of Never Tear Us Apart. The Sydney pub-rock scene stalwart delivered a best of from the Noiseworks catalogue and the title track from his most recent release Woman in a tantalising dirty blues fashion.
With the four mic stands adorning the stage, the artists of the night return, for APIA insurance, to give an all-out jukebox party by striding though hits like Howzat and Love Is In The Air. It should be a moment that feels like Daryl Somers and Plucka Duck could emerge on stage at any second, but most people can't quite shake the fact that they need to check their comprehensive car coverage.