Bimbadgen Estate, Hunter Valley
Saturday April 1, 2017 :
If you have GA tickets, arriving two hours after the gates have opened is probably not the wisest decision when coming to one of these shows in the Hunter. Bimbadge Estate is packed for the opening night of the ‘A Day On The Green’ Blondie and Cyndi Lauper double-header that will be running around the country over the next couple of weeks.
After having some 50 cent cans of Ginger Beer confiscated at the front gates, we make our way to the far side of the stage, to the right as you are looking at it, and manage to find a fine spot nice and close up the side.
We may have been considered late to today’s party but catching Montaigne’s full set was pretty special. Though many in the crowd may be unfamiliar with the artist, it will be her stage presence that they will remember. Animated to the point of possessed, and with a voice that is truely unique, Montaigne did everything to win us over. Special mention has to go to her regal dress sense. Montaigne is classy stuff who I am hoping won a few extra fans today. For myself, it solidified my respect for her as an artist.
Clouds were a unexpected addition to the lineup, and having grown up on Penny Century I was excited to get the chance to see these guys live again. The harmonies between Jodie Phillis and Trish Young are still as sweet as I remember, and ‘Bower of Bliss’ was a joy to hear live. The band’s connection with the crowd just did not materialise unfortunately, and though the closer, ‘Hieronymus’ was better received, there were only pockets of the crowd that rose from their seats.
With a flip of a coin, it was determined that Cyndi Lauper would catch the sunset set. Opening with the Wanda Jackson cover, ’Funnel of Love’, Cyndi gave us a thoroughly uplifting and joyous performance. ‘She Bop’ dropped early to lift the crowd, and the singalong ‘I Drove All Night’ kept us all there. She is a joy to watch, giving us little choice but to join her on her ride.
The opening chords of ‘Money Changes Everything’ produced a massive response from the crowd, and the first highlight of the night. She’s all over the stage looking mighty fine in her leather pants, and the crowd are screaming the lyrics back at her. Then she throws ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’ at you and the party is in full swing.
It’s not often that a set will finish with a ballad, but when you have two of the best in your catalog you have the right to close with the pair of them. ‘Time After Time’ and ‘True Colours’ are true beauty, and to hear them live this evening amongst the vineyards simply made my night. Cyndi was totally on song tonight.
Following a short break, we get hit with the Parallel Lines blast that is, ‘One Way or Another’. It’s just the start we are looking for, a nice smack around the ears. Following this cracker of an opening, I had my hopes for a hit-laden set dashed. More than half of the set was made up from the band’s most recent albums, Ghosts of Download and Pollinator, and though I am sure they are fine songs, and I understand the need for artists to highlight their most current work, but I am sure that 99% of the crowd would have preferred to hear ‘Hanging on the Telephone’, ‘Sunday Girl’ or ‘Picture This’ rather than the near entirety of Pollinator.
Song choice aside, Debbie Harry was dressed in order to make a statement. Wearing a “Stop Fucking The Planet” overshirt, and a honey bee head-dress, her voice was lovely to hear live even if the energy levels on stage were quite restrained. ‘Call Me’ was an absolute blast, and the disco funk of ‘Rapture’ was probably the best the band sounded all night. Add a coda of the Beastie’s ‘Fight For Your Right’, and the song was just perfect.
To be straight up, it were the hits that the crowd wanted, and they let the band know with the screams for ‘Atomic’, ‘Heart of Glass’ and ‘Dreaming’ when they arrived. Cyndi and Montaigne had shorter sets but delivered far more satisfying performances I feel. All up, it was another fine ADOTG lineup in the Hunter.
Reviewer and Photographer : Kevin Bull