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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.

Last Chance
I Don't Know
Every Moment a Lifetime
Crazy Train
In the Name of God (the bands single, monies going to Unicef)
Flying High Again
Pushed Me Too hard
Mr Crowley
Walk Away
Over the Mountain

Gimmie Some Lovin'
Good Times

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 title) was:
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.
Graeme Milton

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 ago.
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 raunchy harmonies.
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 obvious!
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 guessing!
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 lovin!"
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.
Paul Hogan


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