Having spent the early afternoon watching the Weather Channel to ensure that Elvis would not become victim of the mud, I made my rather late appearance at Bimbadgen Estate in the Hunter Valley just in time to catch the most welcome return of the reformed Sunnyboys. The large crowd were enraptured, with the level that their music had warmed our hearts in the mid 80s clearly on show. Here's hoping that the reformation is not short lived.
Costello and his Imposters (Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher) arrived onstage at the rather early time of 7.30 pm and drove through a tight and energetic 75 minute set. The stage setup was simple and focused on Costello, enabling the frontman to deliver the bitting lyrics of his youth with venom not normally found within a man approaching 60.
Though the set may be considered short at 75 minutes, barely a break was given between songs enabling close to 20 to be performed. Favourites 'Watching The Detectives', 'Oliver's Army' and 'Pump It Up' were received warmly, and with the inclusion of 'Waltzing Matilda' within '(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea', Costello earned much love from the Hunter Valley crowd.
The ground may have been muddy under foot, and the blankets sodden rags by the end of the night, but it in no way dampened the spirits of these fans. Costello himself was on the mark with his delivery, performance and song selection. An extra 30 minutes in the length of the set many have been desired, but I am sure very few of those leaving Bimbadgen Estate felt they had been short changed.
Image copyright - Kevin Bull for the AU review.