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Coffs Harbour is NOT ‘too old to dance’ for Cold Chisel

November 6, 2011

Apparently in Townsville you can get evicted from a concert for the horrible sin of dancing. Just ask Richard Fuller:

Perhaps they should have filmed the remake of Footloose in Townsville. Seems very appropriate for the power-hungry security guards, whose main purpose to be stopping people from enjoying themselves.  What is it with these security guards and their power plays? It happened at the Moving Pictures concert at the State Theatre, until Alex Smith said it was okay for us to dance (and I filmed the power play on my mobile phone – clip below), and I remember at the last Eurythmics concert at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, the security guards keep pushing people back from getting down to the floor until Annie said ‘Come on down’. Towards the end of the Moving Pictures concert, everyone was standing and dancing, so if you were in the stalls, you had no choice but at least be on your feet swaying slightly, if not bopping up and down.

So why is it not an expectation on both the part of the venue and the security, that people are going to want to dance? C’mon, we’re not at the opera!  Don’t make out that rock music and dancing don’t go hand in hand.

Poor Richard. He was just enjoying the concert and getting into the music, and ended up in court. Then the magistrate told him he was ‘too old to dance!’  Are you kidding me?  The guy’s 43 years old. I’m 43 years old. I want to dance at concerts. No-one’s telling Barnsey, Mossy and the rest of Chisel that they’re too old too rock. These bands might have started in the late 70’s but they still have an energy and passion for their music that is unmatched by some contemporary acts.

Okay, so Richard might have gone a bit too far when he slapped a security guard. That probably got him in court, rather than the dancing. Perhaps the magistrate should have told him he was too old to be slap security guards, rather than too old to dance.  But the magistrate’s comment makes me wonder if the magistrate has ever danced in his life.

Thankfully, the Coffs Harbour Cold Chisel concert was general admission under a huge marquee. I’m betting that every one of the 10,000 people who attended danced at some point on Friday night. Though my attention wasn’t focused on the crowd behind me (and I’m too short to see them anyway), my attention was focused on the band.

I never saw Cold Chisel when I was young. Listened to their albums in my teenage years and twenties, but by the time I was old enough to be going to gigs legally, they were doing their solo thing.  So I saw Jimmy Barnes and Ian Moss play separately at Sweethearts, and Ian Moss play at some venue at Circular Quay, but I never saw Chisel as a unit. Until now.

As soon as the tour was announced,  I knew I had to go. And the fact that they were playing in Coffs was a bonus, and an inticement to support the tour.  Knowing it would cost only the price of the ticket and incidentals on the night, I wouldn’t be forking out for travel to Sydney or Brisband and accommodation or dipping into rec leave, made the ticket seem like an absolute bargain. What was even more astounding – I booked the ticket on my netbook while on the train in Sydney. In my days of lining up in the early hours at a Ticketek outlet, I would never have foreseen such a convenient future.

Friday night was fabulous – even though I forgot my gorgeous new camera and had to make do with my mobile phone. I was pleased to see that marquee was divided between the booze and the non-booze sections, and we headed down the front to stake out our position as we didn’t plan to drink anything but typically overpriced water.

After You Am I finished their set, the front of the marquee started to fill up. I was trying to keep hold of our position down the front, to the right hand of the stage, while my friend ducked out to the portaloo. Suddenly there were tall guys standing in front of me and I was ducking and weaving trying to see over their shoulders. The marquee continued to fill in the half hour before Cold Chisel were due on stage, while the roadies reset the stage. I wasn’t sure how much  mosh there was to be, and I was hoping the majority of the middle-aged moshpit would mean it would be relatively civilised. While I might not be too old to dance,  too old to mosh is apt.

Then once Chisel came on, more people crammed their way into the marquee, squeezing between the bodies, trying to ensure there was not a skerrick of personal space left down the front. One particularly obnoxious boozer ended up next to me with his girlfriend, bopping along, trying to swing her out in dance moves, when there was no space at all. Very annoying. I tried to keep my focus on the band, but the idiot kept belting into me, and shoving back in their direction has no affect, as they just think it’s part of the mosh. I was very thankful when he decided he was thirsty and needed another beer, and headed back to the bar.

When we managed to position ourselves on the right hand side of the stage, I was hoping that Ian Moss would be at the mic near us. You see – while the singer in my manuscript ‘I’m with the Band’ was inspired by Alex, the guitarist in the story was most definitely inspired by Mossy. But we were in the wrong spot. Mossy was on the left side, but the concert was filmed and closeups were appearing on the screens positioned either side of the stage,  so I could admire his magic guitar playing. Whoever was mixing the vision did an amazing job with three picture fades, switches from colour to black and white, and switches between different members of the band. The screen footage definitely enhanced the concert experience.

They played for two whole hours. And played hard. No holding back at all. The sweat was pouring off Mossy as they tripped through the Chisel back catalogue, and took us all for a spin down memory lane.  When the War is Over was a poignant tribute to drummer Steve Prestwich. Khe Sahn was presented as a karaoke singalong. During Flame Trees, the lighting was suitably red and yellow.

As we neared the end of the concert, more people pushed their way into our section, including a bunch of next generation fans, who were used to moshing. Personal space had shrunk to a minimum and bumping into each other was the order of the night. I saw a flash of bare skin and for one panicked moment realised someone was taking their top off. It was a young guy, but really he needed to put his top back on, instead of waving it in the air like a flag and blasting everyone in close proximity with his sweaty armpits.  Then the band was gone, and the audience was yelling for the encore.

The first song of the encore was Saturday night, accompanied by photos of Coffs at night, and concert attendees. A slower number with Four Walls, Letter to Allan, then finally Goodbye Astrid, and it was goodbye Coffs Harbour.

Everyone was relatively well behaved, the music was awesome and the concert well-organised, including the security. (even if I had to tip out my free water when I arrived)

As Tim Rogers said, for one night, Coffs Harbour was the centre of the f*** rock and roll universe and Chisel made it so. Thank you Chisel for a rocking night out in Coffs and the opportunity to dance. Come back soon!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 6, 2011 3:34 pm

    Fabulous concert! Barnsey and Mossy and the boys are amazing. Loved it. And yes… I DID DANCE!!!

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