Last night saw myself and Nik at the Nick Cave concert, at what was my only Festival Hall concert in 20 odd years. Festival Hall in Melbourne was the place to be seen and the venue of many a sell out sports or entertainment event for decades.Probably best known for staging professional wrestling and boxing matches, many a riot started at The Hall, and some even spilled into the street and parking lot, none last night thank god, but as always a couple of idiots nearly spoiled it for others.
Festival Hall was built by John Wren in 1915. Rebuilt in 1956 after being burnt down the year before, it was the Olympic Games venue for gymnastics and wrestling. In the 1950s and 1960s it became an entertainment centre, with famous appearances including Bill Haley, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles. By the 1990s it had been overtaken by more spectacular venues, but the Wren family remained in ownership. The last time I was there, was to see Billy Joel, probabaly in the early 80's. Lots of things have changed since then, the most obvious being the licensing laws, see the two beers in my hand. (Two because I knew I would never find Nikki again if I wandered off later to get another beer.)
Some of the other less obvious things were the technological ones, and no Nick Cave wasn't using a radio mike. Mobile phones. Yes folks people were snapping away madly at the concert, with their phones, I had a go at one stage, but the light levels were too low and by the time Nick Cave came on I was too taken away by the moment to bother pulling mine out again. Digital cameras were out and about too. I didn't take mine in as I wasn't sure about security, and had no intention of having mine cloaked or being generally hassled by the folks on the doors. At one stage I was convinced that I saw someone videoing a couple of songs with a small digital still camera!
I can't for the life of me, remember the song listing, but I do remember being impressed by the level and quality of sound, you know you're at a Rock 'n Roll gig, when you can feel bass drum in your shins and in the floor - awesome! The crowd didn't seem to me to be THAT up to speed with Nick's repertoire as the crowd reacted the most to some of the earleir stuff, one of which was so old I didn't know at all, Nik my wife who's been a ‘Cave fan’ longer than I've known her, went off with the crowd, but all the other songs I knew and enjoyed. The crowd while it seemed large to me wasn't overwhelming and if I really HAD to I could have found the bar and bought a beer or two. Boy though by the end of the night my feet were killing me!
As we left we caught up with the lovely Ed 'n Cindy, who, even though we knew were going to be at the concert, didn't manage to locate till the end, and as it turns out, were a mere 3 or 4 meters away from us at the front of the stage, the whole time! Nik grabbed a bottle of water at the nearest Kebab van on the way to the cars then it it was off home, I'd come straight from work. Driving home I played the ‘The Lyre of Orpheus’ and when it came to the track ‘O Children’ I had to wave an arm out the car, the way Nikki had been waveing her arms to the song at the concert. All up a great night was had, by all concerned especially my gorgeous wife Nikki!