Studio 11, Fox Studios, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
April 26, 2004
Living Loud - Don Airey, Jimmy Barnes, Bob Daisely, Lee Kerslake and Steve
Morse played at Fox Studios tonight, their second ever live performance. The
band debuted last night in Melbourne and tonight it was Sydney's turn to see
the band ply their trade.
I Don't Know
Every Moment a Lifetime
In the Name of God (the bands single, monies going to Unicef)
Flying High Again
Pushed Me Too hard
Over the Mountain
Gimmie Some Lovin'
I was surprised to see Don Airey playing, totally unexpected
given that the Living Loud website doesn't have him as part of the band. A welcome
and very pleasant surprise.
The venue was rather small with tiered standing room in front of the stage (good
for the vertically challenged) and two levels of bars and railings overlooking
the stage. Unfortunately it was a smoking venue (pet hate) so I came away smelling
of an ashtray!
The concert was recorded for a DVD release. The set list (kindly donated by
the guy on the mixing desk so I guess there may be the odd abbreviated song
The band only had a few days to squeeze in rehearsals around Deep Purple tour
dates and given that DP have played six shows in seven days I guess that doesn't
leave much spare time. But the performance was very solid with significant contributions
by both Don Airey and Steve Morse. Given that they had already played a concert
earlier in the evening it was an outstanding performance.
Lee Kerslake and Bob Daisley were very solid (not pun intended), providing a
solid foundation as some of the songs really kicked arse. Jimmy Barnes was well,
Jimmy Barnes, pretty much as I expected as he tends to scream a little, but
it was on balance a pretty good performance. Jimmy certainly has stage presence
and is able to extract every last thing out of the lyrics.
Jimmy had three backup singers, one of which was his daughter and whilst I didn't
get a close look she seemed to be a real stunner, with a great set of lungs.
To avoid any comparisons with DP, Daisley and the backup singers were right
of stage, Don and Steve were left of stage. Steve's hardworking guitar technician
was on hand to help Steve with the changing of his guitars. I think he used
three different guitars during the course of the evening.
The lighting show was good (I be interested to see how it appears on the DVD)
and the sound seemed spot on. I was standing in front of the mixing desk so
I guess that a pretty good gauge. The set list was the album (not sure whether
the order was the same) and given that it was released today the crowd reactions
were at times understandable subdued. The Mr Crowley tracks were in the main,
well received. The band seemed happy, the crowd seemed contented and after about
an hour we all headed off into the night.
In wish the band well and especially their first up single - In the Name of
God, which deserves international airplay. It is a good song and given the situation
in the world the lyrics are very poignant.
I only went to this show on the spur of the moment - raced across
town after 10 pm because I thought it would be a last chance to again see some
true luminaries of rock 'up close and personal'! Having seen Purple a few days
earlier I needed a final fix of Steve Morse and Don Airey!
Stage 11 is a great venue - quite a new place complete with wood panelling and
a very nice tiered structure that ensures it's possible to get a good view of
the action from just about anywhere. I saw Eric Johnson there a couple of years
However, on arriving in time to catch the support band (Grind - pretty good,
standard hard rock) I was surprised to see the place relatively empty, with
punters scattered on various levels around the numerous bars. It's true there
was very little promotion of the gig; still, for a band of LL's calibre the
word tends to spread fast and I was a bit worried that the place would be half-empty
for the main attraction.
As it turned out there was a steady stream of arrivals till the band appeared
around 11.45 and there was a decent-enough crowd by showtime - though the place
was nowhere near packed.
The band came straight from a live performance on a late-night tv show, Steve
and Don had also come from the third night in a row of Purple shows, and apparently
Lee Kerslake had arrived by plane around 5 am before going into a mid-morning
rehearsal. So it's fair to say they must all have been exhausted! But, the consummate
professionals they are, I'm pleased to say the lads put on a great show!
The bloke introducing the lads - I think it may have been Drew Thompson - announced
that a DVD of the night was to be made (a bit premature I thought seeing as
this was only their second live show!), and that if we all wanted to see ourselves
on TV the people in the top bar would have to join 'the unwashed masses' down
below. When this didn't work he started getting progressively more upset, finally
saying that the band would not come on till they all vacated the area. There
was also a subtle threat that Security would shortly assist them on their way,
till the last stragglers finally relented and headed south! I can understand
the guy's desire to add to the show's atmosphere, but I thought he was a bit
heavy-handed about it.
The other thing that pissed me off a bit was that he intro'd the Living Loud
album as "Jimmy Barnes' new album"! I think the other members could
easily take offence at this because the album is clearly much more than a showcase
for Jimmy, as much as he (Drew?) would like it to be so. I know there is a definite
agenda to 'break Jimmy in the States' behind this exercise, but it must be remembered
this is a band, not a 'Barnsey' marketing strategy! [Or they shoulda put
his name on the front! Rasmus]
For those who are unaware, Barnsey enjoys somewhat legendary status in Oz, mainly
through his association with Cold Chisel - an Aussie band that split in the
early 90s when (thought to be) on the brink of international recognition. Though
it's fair to say he's not universally loved for all his post-Chisel material,
it's also fair to say that Barnsey does have one of the great rock voices -
of a similar style to Sammy Hagar or Chris Cornell - and that it's shown to
best effect when he's in such good musical company and allows himself to 'shift
down from overdrive' every so often!
As for the show...
It's fair to say I'm not very familiar with the Ozzy Osbourne material covered
both on the album and at this gig. However despite this the band really rocked-out
on it! Particular highlights from this stuff were Crazy Train and Mr Crowley,
both of which really kicked along!
I spent the entire show 'in the pit' just a few feet away from Steve Morse,
who stood stage left directly in front of Don Airey. The more I see of Steve
the more I'm in awe of his ability as a guitarist of great passion and virtuosity!
He was, as usual, quite superb, gradually lifting his game to greater and greater
heights as the night wore on. Being able to watch someone of his ability so
close-up is really a rare treat!
The rest of the band really cooked as well, nicely augmented by three female
backing singers who added depth to the vocals with some sometimes soulful, sometimes
Barnsey was relaxed and in fine voice, and the banter between songs was friendly
- often to the point of being apologetic for how under-rehearsed many of the
songs were. But no one noticed really - with players like this, no holes are
On first hearing the new material showed great promise - it ranged in tone from
middle-eastern sounding exotic pieces (á la Kashmir) with string sounds
from Don and very nice sitar effects from Steve (a great song called In the
Name of God), through to some tasteful bluesy stuff with some very interesting
Morse-esque key changes, through to ball-crushing riff-laden full-tilt rockers!
I look forward to hearing the album - on first exposure the music seems to have
the Purple-like dynamics I like: that is, a tasty mix of melody, complexity
and changes of pace (Paice?) and mood, with enough variety to keep the listener
There was a great Don Airey organ solo that morphed into Spencer Davis' Gimmie
Some Lovin. Great back-up vocals from the womenfolk - "Gimmie, gimmie some
The encore was a fairly predictable old-time rocker, The Easybeats' Gonna Have
a Good Time Tonight (?), which Barnsey had a hit with in Oz as a duet with the
late Michael Hutchence.
All up a show that showed great promise of things to come. My only hope is that
the dynamics and musicianship of this band doesn't get swallowed-up by marketing
hype in the quest to 'sell Barnsey' and 'move product' in the States. Otherwise
there's a danger they could become just another FM radio-friendly boring AOR
rock band. May it never be!
The other thing is, with Purple's busy schedule this year, I wonder how they'll
fit it all in?
Check em out if you get the chance.