By Darren Stones - a 1980s music tragic
It's rare to get the opportunity to see some of Australia's best rock'n'roll talent assembled in one place in Melbourne to perform an outdoor gig over seven hours. But when that occasion arises, it's best to book tickets fast and prepare your best-looking black shirt.
Last Saturday between 3-10pm, the North Melbourne Football Club hosted Aussie Rock on Arden featuring Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens and Noiseworks, Ian Moss and Shannon Noll. With the temperature reaching 30 degrees Celcius, things were hot and sweaty both on and off the stage. Fold-up chairs and picnic blankets were the order of the day for the patrons who gathered on the oval, along with plenty of water, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
First of the headline acts to perform was Ian 'Mossy' Moss. Formerly of Cold Chisel, Moss performed a set which included his solo hits Telephone Booth and Tuckers Daughter from his first album Matchbook, plus My Baby and Bow River which he wrote and performed during his years with 'Chisel'.
TV personality and comedian Peter Hellier was MC for the event and his close friend and Collingwood footballer wannabe Brian 'Strauchnie' Strauchan made a brief yet memorable appearance. Whilst Shannon Noll was on stage belting out What about me, Strauchnie saw fit to enter from stage right and begin hollering out What about Strauchnie. Being typically not-so-humble in the company of real talent, Strauchnie soon realised he was out of his vocal league and went back to wherever it is that he loiters in between engagements.
Shannon Noll opened with Loud, which so happens to be my favourite track of his. From the days of obscurity where he was discovered on Australian Idol in 2003, Noll's performance and voice has matured to a point where his presence in such popular company was warranted. His stage performance quickly commanded the attention of the crowd and they in turn responded to his highly-charged performance. The ladies just love him.
Noiseworks have re-formed and with Jon Stevens out front are playing as good as ever. Long regarded as one of the country's most under-rated acts during the 1980s, Stevens announced to their fans that Noiseworks will be recording a new album - their first in 19 years.
Noiseworks' performance was regarded by many in the crowd as the best of the night with Stevens's voice and energy reminiscent of decades gone by. Stevens is ageing like a fine wine and is looking remarkably fit - a credit to him.
Stevens dedicated Touch to those suffering from the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster.
Jimmy Barnes was the headline act of the evening and deservedly so. In the style Australians are becoming accustomed to seeing, he quickly commanded the full attention of the audience. Barnes has arguably become the elder statesman of Australian rock and seems to be revelling in his role.
Barnes, who was accompanied on stage during his 90-minute performance by three family members, finished the night strongly by pleasing his screaming fans with Driving Wheels and Working Class Man.