This past weekend Adelaide has enjoyed the fun, festivities and fumes of the Superloop Adelaide 500, with three nights of after-race concerts featuring some of Australia, and the world’s biggest performers. The annual event sees tens of thousands descend on the city with many procuring their tickets for the concerts alone.
The summer sun blared down on Adelaide, and with largely cloudless skies, temperatures soared to forty degrees. Despite the heat, after each day of watching the V8’s race around the track, punters were ready for the sun to go down and the night time entertainment to begin.
This years music acts were Amy Shark and Vance Joy on Friday night, The Living End and Jet on Saturday night, with George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and Red Hot Chili Peppers rounding out the three days with a huge Sunday night concert. Each night also saw a selection of local acts chosen by Music SA, who were lucky enough to perform in front of thousands.
Local acts Delia Obst and Tales kicked off the first night, as race goers slowly filtered into the concert space. Obst’s mellow tones and gorgeous vocals were a nice juxtaposition to the sound of V8’s only moments earlier.
Amy Shark was the first big-name act to perform, taking to the stage at sunset on Friday night and she came onto the stage after an introduction of “Do You Hear The People Sing”, from Les Mis. The crowd were ready, waiting, and eager to be entertained and the huge stage gave the ARIA Award winner room to roam. An energetic performer, Shark belted out tunes from her debut album Love Monster, and her latest EP Night Thinker. Fans were particularly receptive when she played her Triple J unearthed single “Adore”, and she had the whole audience singing along when she broke into a cover of “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Her set rounded off with “I Said Hi”, as she said goodbye to her happy Adelaide audience.
Next up on the Friday night was Melbourne’s Vance Joy, taking to the stage at around 9:30pm. With temperatures still at 35 degrees many in the crowd were now taking the opportunity to kick back, relax and watch his enjoyable performance. Joy’s songs are upbeat, catchy, and his smile endearing. He played through his well-known numbers, including “Mess Is Mine”, “Waste Time”, and a laid-back, beachy cover of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long”. As he neared the end of his set, the ukulele came out and he treated the crowd to a lively rendition of his hit “Rip Tide”.
Saturday night in Adelaide and it was still hotter than hell, yet a decent crowd gathered early on the grass, securing their prime spot ahead of another strong night of entertainment. Burnside Mums and Ricky Albeck & the Belair Line Band were the Music SA Bands on Track openers for the night and got things off to the perfect start.
Even after more than twenty years, The Living End still deliver a solid live show that’s full of sing-along hits, and are the perfect choice for an after-race party. Bassist Scott Owen threw himself into his performance, dragging his double-bass all around the huge stage. Opening with “Don’t Lose It” off their most recent album, Wunderbar they went on to play hits like “Second Solution”, and “All Torn Down”. At one time singer Chris Cheney played his guitar with a full bottle of VB, just in case you were under any mistaken impression that The Living End were not a full-bodied, Aussie band. They wound up their set with “White Noise” and “Prisoner of Society”, giving fans the fuel-injected finish they were hungry for.
The Saturday night headliner was recently-reformed garage rockers Jet. Having toured the anniversary of their first album Get Born last year, Jet were welcomed back to Adelaide, taking to the stage around 10pm, by which time fans were well warmed-up and ready. Jet are a worldly band, whose past hits shot them to global fame, and they treated the Adelaide crowd to a great selection of these, including “Roll Over DJ” and “Cold Hard Bitch”. As the night ended, lead singer Nic Cester jokingly introduced us to the bands “new single” meaning the crowd-pleaser: their first major hit, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”.
When the racing came to an end on the Sunday night, Adelaide was ready and waiting for a cracking finish to the weekend’s celebrations. The Sunday race day was sold-out largely on the back of the night’s headliner, and fans filled up the grass, the grand stand and beyond.
Lucky Adelaide bands Zen Panda and The Montreals made the most of their shot on the big stage, both bands clearly excited to be there warming up the crowd ahead of 1970’s icons of funk, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Clinton and his ensemble of a dozen or so performers claimed the Adelaide stage as their home. It was a party up there as they took us on a crazy, hour-long journey. The funk was non-stop, with numbers like “Freak of The Week” getting everyone moving. It is hard to judge the Parliament Funkadelic set on any of the individual numbers, but “We Got the Funk” and “Atomic Dog” were some of the obvious stand-outs for the crowd.
It took a minute to pull the stage back together, before Red Hot Chili Peppers emerged to greet what must have been upwards of fifty-thousand fans. The stage setup had changed from the previous nights to include some impressive lighting rigs and some extra screens for those at the back, and they made use of these with some trippy graphics. Straight away they launch into “Can’t Stop” and follow this up with another crowd pleaser, “Otherside”. Instantly, there was the sense that the four of them could jam together up there for hours, given the chance. A few times bassist Flea took a moment to address the crowd, reminding us all in sing-song that we just got to see George Clinton in Adelaide!
Each member of the band has their own energy, coming together to deliver incredible renditions of “Dani California”, “Right on Time” and “Higher Ground”. They also played a few tracks off their latest album, including “Dark Necessities” and “Go Robot”, which gave guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and Flea both some awesome, lengthy solos. And we got watch Chad Smith shine on the drums, thanks to a camera attached to his kit.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers have been going strong for over 35 years, and with so many hit singles to choose from some fans were bound to be disappointed when their favourite song didn’t make the set list. Yet, this show wasn’t the “greatest hits” show. This was a party and the Chili Peppers were choosing the play list.
“Californication” was the biggest sing-along of the night, and it was incredible to hear ten’s of thousands of voices singing out into the warm Adelaide evening. Just because they can, the band made up jams and poems on the fly, and even weaved in a cover The Stooges‘ “I Wanna Be Your Dog”.
George Clinton joined the Chili Peppers on stage and then suddenly all the members of Parliament Funkadelic were back, dancing and singing as the party continued while colourful psychedelic animations lit up the screens behind them. Red Hot Chili Peppers and their friends rocked out an amazing rendition of “Give It Away” and it was clear that everyone on that stage was having the most amazing time.
The band each take a moment to say their goodbyes to huge applause from the Adelaide crowd, as one of the biggest acts in the world rounds off a great weekend of entertainment, a testament to why the Superloop Adelaide 500 is a first-class production.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Header photo by Kerrie Geier.