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2003-09-17 - 10:10 p.m.
I’ve got a couple of gigs I want to review now- maybe I’ll attack them in reverse order while the latter is still fresh in my mind.
Last night Jane, Cindy and I ventured out to the Revesby Workers’ Club for my first Whitlams gig in 14 months. I guess there are a number of reasons I haven’t seen them in that long (after seeing them 6 times in a month). Part of it is that for reasons that I wont go into I’ve lost a lot of respect for their frontman in the last two-and-a-half years, and perhaps up until last July I was more able to separate man and music but then it started to get increasingly more difficult. Secondly I guess the scene became less who I was, particularly as I started getting involved with Jane (which is why it was important for me that she come last night). Thirdly, there comes a time in everybody’s life when 55 gigs by the same band seems a *little* excessive. Or 6 shows in a week…
I’ve mentioned previously (if not directly) that I think I’m ready for it to be about the music again. What stopped it being about the music is no longer a part of my life so there’s no reason the music shouldn’t be a part of my life. Ironically when I went to all those gigs it wasn’t so much about the music as the company, so it seems apt that I can say it’s about the music again and do sensible person things like not see them ad nauseum when they haven’t done anything new. Yesterday was the perfect time to return. All the songs sounded better, I didn’t roll my eyes like a pretentious wanker when they played the crowd favourites because the time could have been better spent playing a b-side that I’ve never heard live before- I actually wanted to hear them dammit!
Let’s face it- I think everybody that reads this thing is reasonably (wink) familiar with the band so this can quite safely be a detailed gig review in which I list every song that was played etc etc.
They started off the set with “I Will Not Go Quietly” (aka Duffy’s Song), the good old version with a couple of bars of solo piano intro, rather than jumping straight in with the guitars like an appropriate simile which doesn’t quite come to mind right now. Next up was “The Ballad of Lester Walker” and “Best Work”, before the first of 3 songs played that night that I’d never heard live, no mean feat in a gigging career spanning 6 years and 55 gigs. The dirgy guitars of Jak Housden led us into “Up Against The Wall”- best known for the immortal line “She was one in a million, so there’s five more just in New South Wales”.
The rest of the main set went as follows (ish)…
Royal in the Afternoon (when you finally get to Melbourne to see the girl in “No Aphrodisiac” and then you have trouble getting up before midday)
Buy Now Pay Later (just Tim and Warwick and the audience, the way it should be)
Made Me Hard
Blow Up The Pokies
Laugh in Their Faces (so used to hearing a Gubby organ solo in this one but I like them better as a four piece band)
Fall For You (in which Tim brings out the old “Top Bollocks” lines again and as usual there is a willing member of the audience. It degenerated into Tim “looking back from the ocean beneath to your… boosies” and Jak altering the backing vocals accordingly)
Don’t Believe Anymore (very interesting to hear the variation from the recorded version)
I Make Hamburgers
Gough (where the planets aligned and the Whitlams played Gough in the Whitlam room of the Revesby Workers Club)
You Sound Like Louis Burdett
Cindy had told me they’d been playing “Shining” recently so I was hanging out for it and I wasn’t disappointed when Tim came out for the encore and began playing solo until the band kicked in for the instrumental. One of the best versions I’ve heard. And then the live moment that I’ve waited almost 6 years for- “Tangled Up in Blue”. He even got six out of seven of the verses spot on before screwing up the last one and paying himself out with “we don’t know how this got started, don’t know what we do with… other people’s lyrics”. He also weaved in “me I’m just on the run, headed for another Workers’ Club”
They sent us home with “Thankyou”, and while I can’t claim to love him at his worst, Tim Freedman and The Whitlams were back to their best last night.