Live Review: Cold Chisel, Grinspoon

24 November 2015 | 9:19 am | Bryget Chrisfield

"It's raunchy enough to make you wanna remove a garment or two."

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This is Cold Chisel's One Night Stand tour, which proves as impossible to resist as the no-strings-attached encounter after which its named (especially given that Grinspoon are supporting). We find out as soon as we take our seats that Cold Chisel fans burp loudly and with gusto. Fact. And the smell of battler cologne (such as Old Spice) hangs thick in the atmosphere.

Grinspoon have still got it (or would it be more accurate to say re-got it?) with Phil Jamieson and co looking and sounding match fit. Jamieson has a super-wide stance and positions himself far enough away from the mic that he has to lean in, as one would for a pash. Hard Act To Follow is a cracker — such insightful and humorous lyrics ("Kills, thrills and Sunday pills — WHOA-oh!"). "Well I got drunk and I got stoned" — we see a running theme developing through the growling 1000 Miles, which is further cemented by Chemical Heart. After this song, Jamieson informs us he got married ten years ago today and requests that we give his wife Julie (who's present) a cheer. Bassist Joe Hansen practically does the splits during the snarling Lost Control, which exposes riffs with fangs, and we half expect a (probably less impressive) Lenny Kravitz-style reveal. The band close with an INXS cover, Don't Change (RIP Hutch) and Jamieson pitches for, and even impressively hits, those final two extended high "DOOOoooon't"s as well. Grinners are winners and winners are grinners.

After intermission, the house lights fade to black, solid drum beats strike and then Cold Chisel belt out Standing On The Outside. Keeping the memory of Cold Chisel's founding drummer alive through his choice of T-shirt (it reads "Prestwich"), Charley Drayton immediately proves he's no slouch on that drum stool. Careening frontman Jimmy Barnes sports snazzy black pants with lots of zips around the knee region. His singing style's never exactly been effortless and Barnsie still looks like he's about to pop a vein when he sings. He's bookended by bassist Phil Small and the inimitable Ian Moss whose stage outfits — white jeans and black short-sleeved shirts — match. What an elegant playing style Mossy has (even when he's shredding it Eddie Van Halen style). When Barnsie yells in Mossy's face/ear, during Choir Girl, we fear for the latter's aural health.

"How the fuck are ya?" Barnes enquires. Mossy's vocals, which are first demonstrated on My Baby, are debonair. There was always gonna be some new songs thrown in, but Cold Chisel do us the courtesy of waiting until song seven until blues-drenched newie The Mansions gets a spin. It's raunchy enough to make you wanna remove a garment or two and is perfectly pitched toward Barnsie's current vocal range. After telling us Cold Chisel have been touring since '74, Barnes admits, "We're fucking old bastards." Saturday Night ("DA-DA-doo-DA-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-DOO") — what a national treasure of a song that is! Especially the bit that goes, "Got the keys to the ci-TY!!!!" Sax takes over the post-key change "DA-DA-doo"s with Andy Bickers bringing it completely. Isn't harmonica a party of an instrument!? Cheap Wine is a masterpiece — "Come on!" The syncopated, driving, insistent You Got Nothing I Want coaxes much fist pumping and finger pointing. We get something in our eyes during Flame Trees, but those choking back tears find reprieve when Cold Chisel bust straight through Khe Sanh then veer down Bow River. (Overheard before the latter: the dude in the next seat coaxing his companion to his feet, "We've gotta dance to this, it's the family song!").

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Chisel's encore commences with the Prestwich-penned When The War Is Over during which actual lighters are produced by punters and waved above heads. We then witness perfectly executed air drums in the stalls to close out the song. The inventiveness of Mossy's riffs is on full display during the Forever Now intro.  

Just when we feel like we've heard all the hits and fear the show's over, enter Mossy and keyboardist Don Walker to reverently perform Georgia On My Mind, which perfectly suits Mossy's soulful timbre. Then the full ensemble returns to the stage for Breakfast At Sweethearts, which is given an exaggerated reggae treatment. "Who needs that sentimental bullshit anyway"? We do, obviously.