"Farnham's honey-and-lemon presence was a balm on the balmy evening. You're the voice, and John Farnham is a human Soother."
The parched lawns of Elder Park played host to a line-up of Oz rock stalwarts yesterday, as Swanee, Ross Wilson, Russell Morris, The Black Sorrows, Daryl Braithwaite and John Farnham swung by Adelaide for One Electric Day, named presumably for the frying pan-like conditions forecast.
A wary but prepared crowd trickled through the grounds from 11am, armed with camping chairs, Banana Boat, and umbrellas branded by various insurance companies (indicative of the event's target demographic). Swanee kicked off the nostalgia marathon with way-back-whens like Fooled Around And Fell In Love, Tin Soldier and If I Were A Carpenter, as oblivious black swans sidled down the nearby River Torrens.
The sun seared overhead as Ross Wilson and his current band The Peaceniks trundled through a low energy set. Attempts to engage the crowd fell flat as the mercury topped 41°C, though the irony of hearing Cool World was lost on nobody, and one guy in a Crows guernsey went off his beak for Eagle Rock. Daddy Cool + Mondo Rock = Dad Rock? You do the math.
Australians love weather chat, and it was certainly the hot topic on and off stage. The guitar-driven sets of Swanee, Russell Morris and The Black Sorrows were all smudged by the scorching heat, resulting in the frustrating but unavoidable need to constantly re-tune. With no shade available for the crowd, the cloud cover that swept in at 4pm was a natural delight, just in time for Black Sorrows' Joe Camilleri to wrap up his set with Chained To The Wheel and Shape I'm In.
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The wafting whiff of hot chips and portaloos greeted everyone's honorary dad, Daryl Braithwaite, who threw back bad jokes, AFL banter, and Countdown classics like Sherbet's Summer Love across the late arvo. The slinking bass line and falsetto refrain of Howzat had most bums out of seats, before everyone was upstanding for national anthem, The Horses.
At 6pm sharp, main event John Farnham sauntered on stage, raring to take the barometric pressure down. Sporting a three-piece suit like a consummate professional, Whispering Jack whipped the mosh pit into a consommé of hot flushes and XXXX. Breezing through bangers like Burn For You, Reasons and That's Freedom, Farnham's honey-and-lemon presence was a balm on the balmy evening. You're the voice, and John Farnham is a human Soother.
With its steeply priced tinnies, commemorative tea towels, and an all-male-all-Anglo bill (could nobody get Renée Geyer on the phone?), One Electric Day wasn't without its faults. But as the evening seagulls swooped in, and security tried to confiscate a goon sack from a woman whose body was ready for Playing To Win, there's no doubt the day told a certain story of what it can mean to be Australian.