Jimmy Barnes is undeniably one of the greatest Australian rock icons. Ever since he burst onto the national scene in the late 70s with Cold Chisel, he has dominated the music charts with anthem hits including ‘Khe Sanh’, ‘Flame Trees’, ‘Cheap Wine’ and of course, ‘Working Class Man’. His popularity spans across generations, and even in my generation (people in their early 20s), you will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know the lyrics to legends like ‘Khe Sanh’, thanks to countless pub rock bands who love belting out the old classic. But while it is one thing to hear ‘Khe Sanh’ played in pubs, it is quite another to hear Jimmy sing it.
The power in Jimmy’s voice is difficult to describe. Listening to MP3s or CDs (or records, as my father did in his day), hardly does justice to the live event. Jimmy Barnes live is like plugging your iPod into the largest amplifier you can possibly find, and then jolting yourself with a defibrillator over and over again. It is loud and it is electric, and it surpasses all boundaries that you could possibly imagine. The crowd responds with vigour. Even in the usually fairly reserved Concert Hall in QPAC people were getting to their feet and singing and dancing throughout the entire concert. And when the first few notes of ‘Khe Sanh’ sounded through the auditorium, a unanimous standing ovation occurred, followed by much screaming and belting out of the lyrics – none of which could compare with Jimmy’s performance.
The first half of the concert Jimmy plays music from his new album, ‘Out in the Blue’. While his music has lost none of its power, it is less gritty hard rock and more soulful and exploratory. He seems to have found some personal catharsis in several of the pieces, while others explore his lighter side, which he himself admits was not overly prevalent when writing this album. The second half Jimmy performs all the old classics from his Chisel days and solo career.
It is not just Jimmy Barnes who is amazing in this ‘Out in the Blue’ tour. His band are equally talented. Davey Lane, Ben Rodgers and Mark Punch on guitar, with the amazing James Gillard on base and acoustic guitars, give exhilarating performances that are just as entertaining as the lead singer. As Jimmy fondly jests, ‘we’re greedy, we have three lead guitars’. Tony Featherstone on Keys must have about fifteen fingers. And then there’s Jacki Barnes – Jimmy’s son – on drums. This young man has the talent and ferocity of his father, but with looks much more appealing for us younger fans. Jacki is not the only Barnes family member to support his father. Backing vocals are provided by Barnes’ daughter Mahalia, along with Tina Harrod, Juanita Tippins and Mr Percival – all of whom also performed as the support act in Mahalia’s band, The Soul Mates. Like her father, Mahalia can belt out a tune with just the right blend of fire and emotion that sets the audience sizzling in their seats. The Soul Mates’ original music, plus their brilliant reworkings of ‘You are my sunshine’ and ‘Proud Mary’ are an excellent starter for the night, and Jimmy must certainly be a proud father.
After thirty years, the man still has it. And he has passed it on to his children and family around him. After all Jimmy’s trials and tribulations throughout his life, it is evident that his family is the one thing that means the most to him. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this historic musician’s tour, and to witness a man who had been an idol since childhood, enjoy a night basking in the music of another great idol. Love you Dad.
The Frontier Touring Company presents
Out In The Blue National Tour 2008
Special guest: Mahalia Barnes + The Soul Mates
Wed 25 June Canberra Theatre
Phone Bookings 02 6275 2700
Mildura ****SOLD OUT****
Thu 27June Settlers
Phone Bookings 03 5023 0474
Sat 28 June Thebarton Theatre
Phone Bookings 08 8225 8888
On Line Bookings www.venuetix.com.au
Fri 4 July Brisbane Concert Hall - QPAC
Phone Bookings 13 62 46
On Line Bookings www.qtix.com.au
Sat 5 July Empire Theatre
Phone Bookings 1300 655 299
Mon 7 July Brolga Theatre
Phone Bookings 07 4122 6000
Tue 8 July Caloundra RSL
Phone Bookings 07 5491 1544
Thurs 10, Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July
The Palms at Crown
Phone Bookings Ticketek 132 849
On Line www.ticketek.com.au
Wed 16 July Regent Theatre
Phone Bookings Ticketmaster 136 100
Fri 18 July Newcastle Panthers
Phone Bookings 02 4926 2700
Phone bookings Ticketek 132 849
On Line www.ticketek.com.au or www.moshtix.com.au
Sat 19 July Enmore Theatre
Phone Bookings: Enmore Theatre 02 9550 3666
Phone Bookings Ticketek 132 849
On line: www.ticketek.com.au or www.enmoretheatre.com.au