The line up for today’s A Day On the Green at Bimbadgen Winery in the Hunter Valley has a stellar line up featuring a plethora of talented musicians. The venue appears to be practically sold out as there isn’t much green left to sit on, the regular general admission punters always arrive early to grab the best position and the seated punters have arrived to catch all four bands. There are plenty of toilets, free water and huge merchandise tent to check out as well as the possibility of grabbing a food hamper or a glorious bottle of wine.
The Choirboys(decked out in Cheap Trick tee shirts) start the day with a huge crowd applauding an Aussie favourite and together they start the day perfectly. They are followed by another Aussie band, The Angels, a band that has been rocking crowds for over forty years and today they have the punters cheering like crazy and seeing this reaction from the crowd I can’t help but feel they ought to have gone on before the main act. The third act, Cheap Trick, build up into a rock show featuring glamourous outfits and talent that hasn’t left the stage since early beginnings and let’s not forget the five necked guitar of Rick Nielsen’s! They attack the stage with guts and glory and when Rick and John Brewster (from The Angels), join them on stage, it’s icon versus icon and there is no disappointment.
When the lights go down, the crowd stand up and roar and the man that is Billy Idol enters stage, a man who can still pull a huge crowd after forty decades of hits and tonight we are given a huge setlist of classics and new songs off his current album, Kings and Queens of the Underground.
Opening with a new song, “Postcards from the Past”, a supersonic tune packed with superb vocals, crooning “it’s a memory that will last, like a postcard from the past”. Billy delivers his best tonight, cruising through the classics of “Cradle of Love”, “Dancin with Myself”, “Flesh for Fantasy”, “Sweet Sixteen” and an even older tune from Generation X days, “Ready Steady”, which is received with excited applause. Around me the punters have arrived at a time where wine has taken hold, feet need to dance and the hits always make the fans at the back do what they can to gain a closer view by not very subtly try to sneak forward. Costume changes are part of the act as Billy will gently peel off his top and keep it off to show a trimmed man for the young age of 59, or change into a different style of black shirt.
“Can’t Break me Down” and “Save Me Now” (both off the new album) make me take notice as the new sound is passionate with sounds reminiscent of the eighties but twisted with contemporary nods. “Eyes Without a Face” is a gorgeous older song, full of rhythm and fine backing vocals and the set ends with “LA Woman” (or Hunter Valley woman as he indulges to us) to then give the legendary Steve Stevens his glory of a solo instrumental performance and he rocks the crowd over.
When Billy and co return its straight into “Whiskey and Pills” (new album), “Blue Highway”, “Rebel Yell”, “White Wedding” and finally “Mony Mony”. Billy has given us a solid performance tonight, his live vocals are superb, he treats the crowd with affection, includes a few stories and we will all go home with fabulous memories after a brilliant day and night out on the green.