Outside of Society!: Seeing Patti Smith Live

Just an introductory note: I never meant for this piece to be so long – I started it a few months ago, meaning for it to be a simple review of a show I’d recently attended. And then…it just sort of materialised into a reflection on what Patti Smith meant to me, what the show represented, all the feelings that “fandom” ignites in its participants…and then…I wrote a poem about the experience for my English class, so I had to include that too! I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve written – I hope you all enjoy it too! But there is also a 4,000+ word count, so read in increments if you like. I’d love to hear your feedback, though, or about any similar experiences you guys have had – be sure to leave ’em in the comments! 


PART 1: The essay.

I don’t think I’d ever really expected to be standing in the presence of one of my greatest heroes. This wasn’t exactly helped by the fact that virtually all of them lived in assorted locations on the other side of the world, and that the vast majority of them were either in their senior years – or dead. But yet, I found myself doing just that several months ago, on Easter Sunday, as I stood in the aisles of Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, dancing and screaming and revelling in the fact that, maybe 20 metres away me, was Patti Smith.

The story of how Patti became my absolute greatest living hero is like something out of a cliche coming-of-age movie. I was in a massive record store one morning a little over two years ago, in June or July 2015, when – while searching through the sales section – I randomly came across the cheapest CD I’d seen yet. It had a cover quite unlike anything else I’d seen – so stark and cool, and yet so inviting – and it carried a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker, which seemed so very edgy and grownup at the time. I decided to buy this album – Horses – on a whim, as I slowly realised that I vaguely recognised Patti’s name from a bunch of Pitchfork articles and interviews with Courtney Barnett, an artist who I liked. I stuck it in my CD player when I got home, eager to see if she was as good as Courtney had made her out to be. It kind of confused me at first – I’d read that she played punk music, and the soft piano chords that began the album didn’t exactly align with what I thought ‘punk’ was, back then. But then, this voice sings a lyric so liberating and disembodying – “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine” – to my impressionable ears, that I physically had to stop everything I was doing for the entirety of the album’s length.

Patti’s – and David Bowie’s, whom I would discover only a couple of weeks later – arrival in my life signified a new era of my identity. If the Beatles started to teach a younger me about the importance of creativity, idealism and individuality, it was Smith and Bowie that slammed this philosophy into the essence of who I see myself as. These two artists existed on a plane where not only was it okay, but actually rather cool, to be what mainstream society deems “weird” – where liking obscure postpunk compilations and disaffected ’60s literature and perplexing art movies and a mishmash of Doc Martens and assorted op-shop clothes was encouraged; where being a girl didn’t mean that I had to wear my skirts below my knee, find a good man to stand by, have 2.5 kids, and be a perfect, God-fearing housewife, like my school at the time had taught me for the entirety of my preteen years; where I could dream about writing the greatest alternative album of the 21st Century and living in the East Village of Manhattan without being shunned. I fell madly in love with their world, and began to throw myself into it pretty quickly. In the case of Patti, by the end of that year, I’d consumed a large amount of her writings and other albums, devoured the records of her CBGB contemporaries, wrote lists of my favourite albums and books that always positioned her work somewhere in the top 3, Blu-Tac-ed a picture of her to my wall alongside one of my Beatles posters, cemented a skinny black tie as a mainstay of my wardrobe, and begun a fascination with New York City on the basis of Just Kids that’s only increased ever since. Unlike all my heroes before, Patti and David were also alive – although it was extraordinarily idealistic, collaborating with them on some multimedia avant-garde art project was a lot more possible than my previous daydreams of hanging out with John Lennon and Brian Jones could ever have been.

So let’s fastforward to a year later – November 2016. It’s now been close to eighteen months since I spontaneously fell in love with Horses. The combination of her influence on me across this time and my growing adoration of her mean that she seems kind of like a mythical goddess to me. I’ve also since become a lot more knowledgeable on the details of her career, and am aware that she’s mainly a writer, now – and that even if she had done several recent shows around the place to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Horses, I know that seeing her live is a highly unlikely event. This context should help you to understand the earsplitting scream I let out when my mum showed me an email on her phone one afternoon – an email containing a receipt for tickets to Patti Smith’s first Melbourne show in eight years. It wasn’t even particularly surprising, or anything. I knew that Patti was going to play a music festival up north around that time – and I’d read an hour or so earlier that she was playing shows elsewhere, and was already partway through planning my sermon to my parents as to why flying to Melbourne (the show closest to my hometown, Adelaide – yet still an hour’s flight away) to see her would be a sane idea. It was just this idea that something I’d fantasised about for so long was going to become a reality – that I would, indeed, be standing in the presence of probably my greatest living hero. Let’s not forget that my other greatest dream – meeting David Bowie, or at least seeing him live at the surprise Blackstar concert I (prior to January 10) was convinced would be randomly announced via an obscure social media platform one afternoon – had been crushed that January, and how this had only cemented the idea that seeing my heroes was a scenario reserved for my daydreams. It blew my mind.

I spent the six months or so that ensued in a state of excited shock. I was thrilled about what was happening, but it seemed too unreal for its inevitableness to be contended with. I listened to Horses countless times, and tried to imagine what it would sound like live. I planned what I’d wear – a t-shirt over the top of a striped polo-neck, with a black mini-skirt, fishnet tights, and Doc Martens – months beforehand. I spent one night a couple of days prior to the date printing a t-shirt reading ‘Patti Smith Is Cool’ with my mum. I reread my copies of Just Kids and M Train and Collected Lyrics: 1970-2015. I made playlists of all her songs and listened to them on repeat, and lipsynched my favourites in front of my mirror like some romcom trope. I packed my bag the night before, snuggling my copy of Collected Lyrics in between my toiletries and my tartan shift dress that I planned to wear the day after.  I couldn’t fathom, though, what the day would actually be like – constantly revisiting the material that had affected me so just made her seem even more mythical, and the idea that this person, who I’d never met and yet had changed my life, could be just as real as myself appeared to become even more unthinkable.

This even continued as the day began to arrive. I saw Blondie the week before. Although I was a good 500 metres away from the stage (at least), seeing Deborah Harry “in the flesh” was incredible – and yet, perhaps it was just that I was largely watching her on a massive TV screen, that she was too far away to really see, but I could barely get over my disbelief that the woman in front of me singing ‘Atomic’ was the same one whose records I’d memorised, whose likeness was stuck on my wall. It was almost unbearably surreal – this person, who it felt as if they only existed within the planes of music blogs and record shops and my mum’s record collection and my brain, as if they were almost a figment of my imagination, had suddenly become tangible. This lingered in my mind as the days ’til Patti crept closer- why can’t I see my heroes as real people? Are they – as I perceive them – even real? If I could only barely put this weird sensation to one side in order to dance and recite the rap part of ‘Rapture’ by heart in front of maybe my 10th-favourite band, how would I cope in front of my greatest hero in the entire world?

Me, upon arrival at Hamer Hall

Then it was suddenly Sunday, a day I’d awaited for so many months, that I’d dreamt about so much that it felt like a dream itself . I flew to Melbourne, listening to Horses and reading the entire “Early Work” section of Collected Lyrics over and over and over. We wandered around in the hours before, drinking tea in the cafes and buying takeaway rice paper rolls from the restaurants that we always visited, but it didn’t feel the same. My heart raced as I half-watched a bizarre quiz show on the hotel’s cable channels while blaring ‘Dancing Barefoot’ through my headphones, as I fixed my makeup, as I slipped my homemade t-shirt over my turtleneck, as I ran out the hotel room door, my legs shaky with excitement, and down the lift and across the city and to the concert hall. It all still seemed too surreal, like a dream sequence from my imaginary biopic film – I physically could not believe what was happening, my brain could not compute as I approached the hall, as I walked past the chalkboard out front that read “Patti Smith: Tonight!”, as I stood by the big glass doors of the foyer and watched so many people with clothes as kooky and copies of Collected Lyrics as worn as my own shuffle across to the theatre doors… I felt so heady and trembly – endlessly perplexed as to whether I was really just experiencing a super realistic lucid dream. I knew this day was so important, that no moment in my life before had received such an anticipated build-up, that it would be one that I would fixate on when retelling tales of the “good ol’ days” in middle age – my daydreams had told me as much – but I’d dreamt about it too often. I couldn’t work out whether my surrounds were real or not – I could barely replace the scenes my anticipation had conjured up in the previous months with what was becoming a reality around me. What if I’d removed myself from reality so much that the event itself would have little effect on my psyche – what if it became as insignificant, in the scheme of my life, as whatever day had preceded it?

I had to line up for half an hour to buy my merchandise. I shuffled through the foyer, my hands breaking out in cold sweat, the air humid with body heat, as piles of people crowded around me, doing just the same. I watched as the line snaked past the door, as it grew so long it could barely fit within the confines of the room – people grinning as excitedly as I was, with the same Dr Martens and mismatched vintage clothes and strange haircuts as those that Patti and her contemporaries had allowed me to wear, discussing the merits of ‘Piss Factory’ and ‘Land’ as fluently and passionately as my own thoughts. Music, and the culture that surrounded it, had always been such a solitary pursuit. It was something I read about quietly in the back corner of my classrooms, that I Blu-Tac-ed my passion for over my bedroom walls, that I bought from the privacy of a eBay username or from hard-to-find shops, that I write about on here in the comfort of my anonymity – heck, even the “rebellion” and liberation it inspired in me was merely the inward knowledge that I was cooler than most people around me had ever assumed I had the capability to be. And yet, here were these people, like me. It was the most disconcertingly beautiful thing.

A favourite photo of Patti. (credit: Judy Linn)

My mum and I chatted with the Melbourne couple behind us, in the half-hour merchandise line, who spoke of how they’d seen Patti in a small club in New Orleans, of how they’d been to literally every show and festival (they’d been to Dark MOFO!) I’d ever dreamt of attending. It wasn’t just Patti that felt magical – the idea of Melbourne felt mythical, that night, with its abounding arts culture and opportunities and “the world is your oyster” attitude so much greater than anything I’d ever known, too. I swiped the last remaining tour brochure, that someone had dropped on a nearby bench, even with the beer-glass stain that circled Patti’s face like a halo – not an activity that was even remotely dangerous, and yet, it felt so daring and adventurous. felt daring and adventurous, and all kinds of incredible like I’d never felt before.

Later, the doors opened, and I found my seat, stumbling in awe. Twenty minutes ’til Patti. Starting promptly at 8:30. Magda Szubanski sat three rows down from us; Courtney Barnett herself, perhaps the reason I even knew about Patti in the first place, was seemingly in the second row of the stalls. I sat in the dress circle, at a height almost as heady as my blood pressure. I could already feel the heat drifting up to my face, as I found my spot, the fold-down seat bouncing as I nervously shifted from side to side. I could see the roadies placing Lenny Kaye’s guitars on stage; the stage lights were switched on, too, their blue streaks bouncing off the house lights. A group of 20-something girls sat down next to my seat, one of them clutching a copy of Collected Lyrics as worn and well-loved as my own. I’d never seen another real life copy of Collected Lyrics before. My fishnets itched against my legs.

A photo my dad took.

The lights dimmed, the stage swathed in a layer of twilight-blue lighting; an image of Patti, black-and-white, steely gaze, jacket swung over shoulder – the very same image that compelled me to add Horses to my record collection two years earlier – illuminated in the background. Electric silence. I sat as far at end of my seat as I could, just short of falling off, peering intently over the dress circle balcony for the slightest billowing of a stage curtain, for an indication of her presence. And then, there she was. She stood at the stage’s centre, sporting a waistcoat, a white shirt, black straight-legged pants, brown boots, her long grey hair falling around her shoulders. She looked exactly the same as every recent picture of her I’d ever seen. I’d always assumed she’d (or that anyone, for the matter, who’d I stared at incessantly over the Internet) look different, in real life – but she didn’t. It was like in Mulholland Drive, when Diane attends a party and sees a cowboy leaving, a cowboy identical to a presence who recurs in her dreams. It was bizarre.

Soft piano chords. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” I can’t move. So much like how I felt, that morning in 2015 – and yet, so different, so far. Patti is there. The voice floating from the speakers is from a stage a few metres below me. The woman that recorded an album that entirely changed the course of my life is standing right in front of me, performing said album. I don’t think I could tap my foot, or even smile, at that point – I sat totally rigid, at the edge of my seat, eyes frozen open. Everything was so weird and unbelievable and hazy and surreal. I feebly lipsynched along to ‘Gloria’, virtually involuntarily. Perhaps moving your lips becomes a subconscious action, when a song you’ve poured over hundreds of thousands of times is blaring out of a speaker in front of your ears…

About a third of the way through ‘Birdland’, the entirety of the stalls stood up and fled toward the stage, in a frenzied stampede. The crowed writhed to the beat, extending their hands toward the stage, closing their eyes in ecstasy, becoming more frantic as each song raced toward their climaxes. I stood up, too, in the aisle of my row. I danced and danced and danced, worse than when I dropped out of ballet school when I was seven, to the point that I had a side stitch, but I didn’t even care – I was so ridiculously, beautifully elated that I couldn’t even notice. I physically couldn’t force my face from the massive grin now spread across it, even when my jaw began to hurt. The lights bathed the crowd below in bluish stardust; they glowed behind Patti, like an archangel’s halo, an aura. She was like some kind of angel. I am the lord of the dance, said she.

Me dancing (!)

The bass pulsates through my soul. Water vapour, from everyone’s sweat, drifting around the ceiling, covers the room in a misty fog – the lights stream through, like when the moon shines through a flurry of clouds. Patti begins to perform ‘Break It Up’, and she asks us to sing along.  “Break it up!” “Break it up!” Hundreds of voices – they echo across the walls, gliding along the fog, as if they are floating toward the sky. Like when we sang Psalm 121 en masse, in Choir in Grade 4; like a chorus of angels. Patti’s halo glitters with mist. I sing along, hopelessly out of tune, my throat too dry with adrenaline to be able to determine pitch – but, again, I do not care, for I am so deliriously, joyously happy that nothing other than the fact that Patti is several metres away from me matters.

“The boy was in the hallway, drinking a glass of tea / from the other end of the hallway, a rhythm was generating.” The pounding drums of ‘Land’ build up in my chest, I can’t keep my feet still. “Do you know how to twist?” Yes I do, and it goes like this, and it goes like this… And they segue back into ‘Gloria’, and I scream the lyrics at the top of my lungs, and my mind is so numb with euphoria that I could almost cry, and I lift my hands above my head and reach for the heavens because maybe Jesus died for somebody’s sins but it’s Patti who I worship tonight, and my feet, they run up and down the aisle and I can barely feel my toes but I don’t even realise –  and Patti runs up and down the stage, dancing, yelling, her hair flying, her actual voice echoing from the loudspeaker in front of me… And then she flies across the side of the stage in front of me, and I am so close to her that I can see the wrinkles around her eyes.

And then there’s an encore, ‘My Generation’, and she ties a yellow gerbera  – from a bouquet of flowers a fan had placed onstage – around her arm and slings a silver guitar over her shoulder, and she attacks it so hard that I watch each petal of the gerbera fly to the stage floor, twinkling like gold underneath the lights. And she screams and swears and plays and dances with so much passion and fervour and noise and beauty, that we are but compelled to do the same. And then, suddenly, the noise – the most incredible, loud, fun dissonance – stops. Patti leaves. The house lights are turned on. Obscure folk music plays over the PA. I cannot move. I have never felt so beautifully dazed in my life.

We sat in our hotel bar, after Patti had left and we’d walked back to our hotel. I sat there, and Joy Division and Bowie were playing over the speakers, and my sweaty hair had stuck to my head, and my cheeks were still flushed, and it was just the strangest feeling. It was like when you awaken from a satisfying dream – when you can’t quite picture what happened, but the residue contentment still flutters in your chest. I physically couldn’t comprehend the idea that what I’d just experienced was real. In fact, I still can’t. What I’ve written here is such a small summary of what I have only begun to truly contend with – I still can barely begin to explain or define what I felt.

But it occurred to me that night. David Bowie always used to say that, in real life, to his family and friends, he was still just David Jones – it was only in the public eye, to us fans, that he became “Bowie”. So then, maybe, the Patti that I adored, indeed, wasn’t even real – maybe my love of Patti was not about her, per se. Sure, I admired her for the kind of person her music and writings portray her as – but maybe my love for her work was just as much about me, too. Perhaps I loved Horses, not just because of the music, the lyrics, but for what it represented to me – my rebellion, my liberation, my self-realisation. Maybe the show was not just about seeing Patti, but what it incited in me – how the sweat trickled down my arms as I screamed and danced, until I could barely move my legs, how I knew every word of every song, the delirious joy, the freedom I felt. That perhaps it was’t really Patti and David that “allowed” me to take pride in my differences – although, it was their music that inspired me to think about things a little more. That maybe, to paraphrase a poem I wrote:

“The person who told me that I was cool, that I was worthy,
It wasn’t Patti:

It was me.”

Another photo courtesy of my dad.


PART 2: The poem.

The Days I Saw Patti Smith

It was two years ago when 
Patti Smith’s steely gaze stared straight into my soul
from the comfort of a CD cover at JB Hifi.
I didn’t know anything about her.
But she looked so cool
and the “parental advisory” sticker on the front-right corner seemed so edgy,
and I suddenly became $9.99 poorer.
And when I got home,
and I inserted that $9.99 disc into my old CD player,
I heard a voice so disorientating and incredible that
I had to drop everything I’d been doing,
and listen to my life changing.

And then,
I realised
that everything I’d thought was right about the world
was wrong.
That perhaps I was as strange as the taunts of Year 7’s high society had told me to believe;
but perhaps that was more interesting and cool than they ever could dream to be-
“Outside of society… Outside of society…” That maybe she was right when she wrote of how that was the only place to be…
That perhaps it didn’t matter if my idols weren’t from the Bible, if I didn’t believe,
because maybe, “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.”
That perhaps I wouldn’t have to settle for a life of eternal loneliness, with no man to stand by,
if I couldn’t balance a book upon my skull, if I couldn’t cook or clean or sew.
That if Patti was okay, then maybe I was, as well.

And then,
It was six months ago when
Patti Smith’s steely gaze stared straight into my soul
from a Melbourne concert hall stage.
By now, my CD played almost to an oblivion,
A copy of her Collected Lyrics with white creases of weariness across the spine.
She looked so cool, Blu-Tacked on my bedroom wall,
and the concert ticket bearing her name that lay in my suitcase en route to Melbourne Tullamarine, so full of anticipation and adoration, looked even cooler,
and when I got to use that ticket,
When I stood twenty metres from her flying white hair,
Dancing along row 3, dress circle, even worse than when I dropped out of ballet school when I was seven,
Heady with body heat and passion,
Patti was there.
And I don’t even know if she was real,
For there is nothing more surreal than seeing the wrinkles that line the face that lines your walls for yourself,
Than seeing your favourite record come to life, in its glittering, goddess-esque glory.
And the stage lights glowed around her, and the audience chanted her choruses just like we did when we sang ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ in Grade 4, and the band clanged and crashed and floated in the most beautiful, beautiful way,
And she was some kind of auratic archangel
-It was Easter Sunday after all;
A presence, a voice, so disorientating, so incredible, so unbelievably real,
That I couldn’t think about anything else for weeks.

And then,
I realised,
That I was still wrong.
It wasn’t Patti that made me so self-assured, so happy,
It wasn’t Patti that me so proud of the “outside of society,”
The Patti I adored, that I gazed at while she darted across the stage, indeed, wasn’t even real.
For fandom is not about them, the people they really are,
For it is about you,
And your feelings, your memories,
The way their world colours yours,
A testing of your love at its most passionate, its most unconditional,
The truths it ignites within yourself.
The person who told me that I was cool, that I was worthy,
It wasn’t a CD:

It was me.

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I went to see Courtney Barnett!

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Courtney Barnett

Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to see one of my favourite artists live; Courtney Barnett! She was playing a venue called The Gov, which is a bit famous in Adelaide. My parents bought me a ticket just under a day before the show, so thank you so much!

Me before the show

Me before the show

Courtney Barnett is an Australian indie singer, songwriter + guitarist. Her lyrics are marvelously witty and honest and funny, and she sings with her Australian accent. A lot of her songs are a little bit grungy, but a lot of them are softer, too. She and her partner Jen Cloher run an indie record label called Milk! Records. Courtney designs all her album art, too. She released her debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit in March this year.

The Gov opened its doors at 7:30 and Mum + I arrived not long after. But as we were waiting, somebody walks past us and into the beer garden. And that somebody was Courtney! So after a few minutes, I plucked up my courage and went up to her. I introduced myself and told her that I’m a huge fan. She introduced me to her drummer, Dave, shook my hand, and asked if I was from Adelaide. Dave then took a picture of Courtney and me! They both said they hoped I would enjoy the show. Both Courtney and Dave were really nice, and it was amazing to meet someone I really look up to as an aspiring musician! A memorable start to a memorable night! Courtney actually watched the supports in the audience, which I thought was cool.

Courtney and me!

Courtney and me!

Soon after, the first support band started. They were called The Yabbies, and they were okay, but I thought the second support band were really good! They were called Teeth and Tongue, and played a certain style of half-synth-y, half-guitar-y indie pop which is just pleasing to the ears. Their frontwoman — Jessica Cornelius — also had great stage presence, which is always a plus. I loved dancing to their beats, and got some good photos of them, too.

Teeth and Tongue

Teeth and Tongue

Finally, at around 9:45, Courtney and her band came on! She launched into ‘Elevator Operator’, the first song on her new album, and sung the words in her signature Aussie voice. Everyone stood up, and I took prime position on top of a booth seat so I could see!

Courtney

Courtney!

Courtney and her band then played ‘Lance Jr’, a song from her first EP. ‘Lance Jr’ was in fact the first song of hers that I heard. Courtney then talked to the audience for a bit and played a few more songs from her latest album, like ‘Aqua Profunda!’, ‘Dead Fox’, ‘Small Poppies’ and ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’.

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A lot of people who go and see Courtney live comment on how her live performances are a bit heavier than the studio versions of her songs. And they’re right. Courtney, Dave and her bassist (a dude called Bones!) absolutely rocked The Gov! The walls and floors were quite literally vibrating! Her voice was a little bit sweeter live than it is on her studio songs — but then, she almost screamed a few of the songs live, too. There was such an air of excitement and energy buzzing throughout The Gov that night…

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Courtney then played a few more songs. One of these was the B-side of her latest single, ‘Depreston’, which is all about house-hunting in a suburb in Melbourne called Preston. (Courtney, who lives in Melbourne, often references the city in her songs.) She also played a song called ‘Kim’s Caravan’, which is about the decline of the Great Barrier Reef and climate change in general. ‘Kim’s Caravan’ is one of the softer songs on Sometimes I Sit…, but it certainly wasn’t live. Courtney’s guitar was feeding like mad during the outro, and it sounded awesome! After a bit over an hour, Courtney, Dave and Bones finished the set with the gritty A-side of her latest single, ‘Pedestrian at Best’, left the stage…

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…And then came back! Courtney announced that she would play a cover of The Lemonheads’ ‘Bein’ Around’. She then dedicated a song to her Adelaide audience — one called ‘Pickles From The Jar’! The song mentions Adelaide a few times, hence the dedication… Finally, Courtney and her band finished off the encore with a heavy version of ‘I’ll Make You Happy’ by The Easybeats. And so she and her band finished her show a little bit after 11:00.

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I really, really enjoyed seeing Courtney Barnett live! Though I couldn’t see very well, and my ears rang for a while, I had an awesome night! Courtney really is amazing live, and is definitely a must-see. (And meeting her and Dave was a huge plus!) You can listen to Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit here, and you can buy it here.

I didn't take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!

I didn’t take this picture. All credit goes to The Gov!

I Saw The Beatle Boys Standing There

With 'Paul' and 'Ringo'...

With ‘Paul’ and ‘Ringo’…

 

And 'John' and 'George'...

And ‘John’ and ‘George’…

 

Last night would quite easily qualify for one of the best nights in my entire life. Excluding the George Harrison tribute show I saw earlier this year, an Etype Jazz show I saw five years ago (both of which are a part of the Adelaide Fringe, so I don’t count them), and my annual trip to WOMADelaide, I saw my first rock concert; a Beatles tribute called The Beatle Boys, at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre!

The Beatle Boys are an Australian Beatles tribute from Newcastle, NSW, and they are currently going around Australia and New Zealand, recreating The Beatles’ ’64 tour of Australia and New Zealand, as a part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Unlike some of the other tribute bands I’ve heard of, they weren’t tacky (i.e. they didn’t wear fake-looking wigs; they actually had their hair cut in a moptop, or Arthur – as George called the infamous ‘do in A Hard Day’s Night!) and they weren’t deadly serious about the entire ‘We-have-to-be-exactly-like-The-Beatles’ thing. In fact, the show was a bit tongue-in-cheek; the guy who played Paul put on exaggerated facial expressions, and there was no shortage of jokey Beatles references! According to their website, they’ve been playing for 26 years, and have played everywhere from Swaziland to Canada. Two years ago, they did a ‘rooftop concert’ on top of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, which I just watched on YouTube, and is really cool (I then proceeded to watch Let It Be music clips, and then daydream about the future day it is released on DVD/BluRay; it was supposedly going to be released last year, but that clearly didn’t happen!)!

Last night, their gig consisted of two parts, separated by an interval; the first part was a recreation of The Beatles’ Melbourne concert, with the addition of ‘This Boy’ (which was only played here, in Adelaide). Before the band appeared on the stage, a collection of footage showing The Beatles arriving in different cities around the country, and songs recorded by John, Paul, George and Ringo/Jimmie’s support acts were shown/played on a screen. Finally (as excitement built up), the lights dimmed, the final support act’s song faded, and The Beatle Boys ran onstage. They did a great job with their version of The Beatles’ concerts from 50 years ago; in some aspects, it was an almost-exact replica of the footage I have seen (Scouse accents and all), and in others (as I said before) it was very tongue-in-cheek, and not-at-all serious. They encouraged us to scream (when they weren’t playing!), dance, clap, sing and generally be a Beatlemaniac – naturally, I did all of the above things!

The second part consisted of “more than eleven songs,” as the man who played John joked, including material right from 1962 to 1969. They played everything from ‘Love Me Do’ to ‘Get Back’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’ to ‘Revolution’, and ‘Day Tripper’ to ‘Back In The USSR’. There were some very funny jokes in this part, including ‘Paul’ remarking, “The White Album is my favourite album, ’cause we could do whatever we wanted!” I did a lot of filming of both halves, so once I’ve downloaded them off Mum’s phone, I’ll pop them on here, so you can see the band yourself. It’s not quite the same as seeing them live (which – trust me – is quite an experience), but you’ll get an idea of how good they were!

After the show, The Beatle Boys came out to the foyer, and the majority of audience lined up for photos and/or signatures. As you can see above, I got pictures with them all, and as you can see below, I got them to sign my ticket. They were all really nice men, and they were quite impressed with my gorgeous John-and-Paul tee from last weekend! Just think – what a gorgeous job ‘Beatles impersonator’ would be. I can think of almost nothing better than playing John for a group of like-minded fans; sadly, though, this is impossible because I am a girl, so I’ll happily be content with my dream of being a musician when I leave school.

I’ll just upload the rest of my pictures – after that, good day sunshine, until I upload the videos of the concert (tomorrow, maybe)!

My signed ticket!

My signed ticket!

Outside the Thebarton Theatre (or the Thebby, as locals call it)...

Outside the Thebarton Theatre (or the Thebby, as locals call it)…

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Waiting, waiting, waiting…

 

My “Magical Mystery Tour” To Melbourne

Hi all,

Today, we are coming back to Adelaide (I am currently writing this in the QANTAS lounge!), from Melbourne.

I had a fantastic time at the Beatles In Australia exhibit, but it was slightly different to it’s Sydney equivalent. I was disappointed to see that John’s suit had not made an appearance (it must have been sent back to the V&A, where it is kept), and that the gift shop was fairly limited (I did, however, purchase an Anthology 2 disc!) but it was still fabulous! It’s quite ironic, really, that John, Paul, George and Ringo can still create the same euphoria that they did all those years ago, isn’t it? Look out, future children/godchildren/nieces/nephews – prepared to be brainwashed with the Fab Four! Sadly, photography was prohibited within the exhibition (probably because of Apple Corps.’ strict copyright laws), but here is the link to the accompanying website, plus a sneaky shot of me out the front!

http://www.thebeatlesinaustralia.com/

Posing as the Fifth Beatle at the entrance to the exhibition - note t-shirt with incredibly-attractive picture of John and Paul!

Posing as the Fifth Beatle at the entrance to the exhibition – note t-shirt with incredibly-attractive picture of John and Paul!

The exhibition (in Melbourne) included sights such as a drumhead signed by Ringo, a block of stone from the urinal at The Cavern, a jukebox stacked with all the singles released by The Fabs before June ’64 (when they came), a projection of ‘The Beatles Sing For Shell’ (a TV broadcast of one of their Melbourne concerts from ’64) and one of John’s famous Lennon caps that he had actually worn (!). If you’re in Melbourne before July 1st, go and check it out – it’s a must-see for every Beatlemaniac!

Despite the fact Beatles merchandise within the exhibition was limited, I managed to find a stall in the Queen Victoria Markets which was selling band t-shirts – I found one with an incredibly-attractive picture of John and Paul repeated film-style over a black background. I also found an official Beatles postcard in a vintage clothing shop (in which I also bought a gorgeous 1960s orange shift-dress, that fits perfectly!). My latest editions to my collection of Beatle-y things are pictured below.

Left to right: ‘Anthology 2’ CD, exhibition pamphlet, John and Paul tee and Beatles postcard.

When The Beatles Drove Us Wild is on tonight (as you probably already know) – apparently, it scans everything from the concerts to their effect on society, from the famous campaign to bring them to Adelaide (thanks, Bob Francis!) to groupies, and according to The Advertiser, John says something “that will pierce your heart” at the end (what are you going to say, Johnny?). Make sure you tune in!

Also, it’s my Dad’s birthday (da da da da da da, da da) today – if you’re reading this, Dad, happy birthday; hope you  had a great day!

So anyway, have a great rest of your Tuesday (I’m missing a day of school – how fun!), and enjoy my Beatles picture of the week! Bye for now.

Isn't this just so darn cute?!

Isn’t this just so darn cute?!

Beatle-y News

 

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A picture of some really-cool rare Beatle collectables that my godparents gave me yesterday (thanks!), sitting on our record player.

 

As most Beatlemaniacs are aware, 2014 is a huge year in the Beatles calendar. Americans have been getting all hyped over their 50-years-since-The-Beatles-invaded-America celebrations, with festivities ranging from a beautiful photo-book called The Beatles: Six Days That Changed The World (I will do a review on it some point) to the now-infamous Grammy special screened on Foxtel back in February (I, ashamedly, have not seen this yet – our household does not have Foxtel, so my lovely godparents recorded it for us, but my stupid BluRay player repeatedly rejects the disc that they put it on). However, those over in the US of A are not the only people celebrating at the moment; here in The Great Southern Land/Terra Australis/Down Under/Australia, we’ve been having a Beatlemania revival, too (yay – for once, the rest of the country is acting like an extremely-understated version of moi!). Since last September, there has been a ‘Beatles In Australia’ exhibition doing the Sydney and Melbourne rounds. I was in Sydney for a weekend back in December, and Mum wanted to see an exhibition at the Powerhouse; to my delight, I discovered that the above exhibition was also being held there, so I’ve already seen it. I am, however, flying up to Melbourne very soon especially to re-view the exhibit, as a three-month-early birthday present – talk about being a Beatlemaniac! If it’s anything like it was in Sydney, there will be everything from original posters that a screaming fan proudly held up at The Fab Four’s Sydney Airport arrival, to John’s original suit from the tour! There was also an extremely large portion of Beatles merchandise for sale in the Powerhouse gift shop at the time – hopefully the Arts Centre have a shop, too! Anyway, if you turn out to be in Melbourne before the 1st of July, check it out – I, for one, really enjoyed it in Sydney (and hope to do so in Victoria, too).

As for things going on back home in South Australia…The two major newspapers here (The Advertiser and The Sunday Mail) have been taking advantage of the 50th anniversary of John, Paul, George and Jimmie Nicol’s (who was the replacement drummer – poor Ringo was stuck in London with tonsillitis) visit to Adelaide – I, in turn, have been fattening my Beatles scrapbook with their twenty-million articles (which I am not complaining about)! Here in Adelaide, we made Beatles history by giving the boys their biggest reception ever – surprising, really, considering how small we are, but (as with before) I’m not complaining; all the former Beatles (except Ringo, of course) have commented on their Adelaide visit, and this makes me very proud to be South Australian. But anyway, check out the Sunday Mail today, and yesterday’s Advertiser (if you still have it) – yesterday, there was a giant four-page spread in the SA Weekend, plus an article on a security guard who got their signatures. Today, in the Mail, there was an article of a woman who met John and Paul in ’64, and got Paul’s signature in 1975 (what a lucky-duck).

As for the TV – about a week ago, there was a half-hour special called Yesterday: The Beatles In Adelaide (thus, I assume, only screened here) on Channel 7, which was based around interviews with DJs/fans who were present, and a lot of archival footage (which was really interesting to look at). Despite the fact the documentary was ten years old, it was really good and I really enjoyed it. However, there’s another television special coming up on Tuesday, 10th of June (a new one!) on ABC1, called When The Beatles Drove Us Wild – apparently, this one is something very special, and unlike the former, it goes for a full  hour, so tune in!

As for other Beatle-y news – most Beatlemaniacs now know that A Hard Day’s Night is finally being re-released! This is good news for us Australians, ’cause it’s been out-of-print here since 2005! I’ve already pre-ordered my BluRay, and you can do the same with the link below (we are the same region as the UK, so the disc is watch-able here):

http://http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Days-Night-Anniversary-Restoration/dp/B00KATQSA2/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1402183042&sr=1-1&keywords=a+hard+day%27s+night+50th+anniversary+restoration

And while you’re at it, take a look at the brand-new trailer made especially for AHDN’s re-release (if you’re lucky enough to be reading this in the US, you’ll get to see it at your local cinema):

 

 

So anyway, have a fab long weekend (I’ve listened to Abbey Road, read my new Beatles books/magazine pictured at the top of the post and posted on here), and enjoy the sunny day that has somehow found itself in the middle of Adelaide’s – to quote George Harrison – “long, cold, lonely Winter” (and trust me  – Adelaide Winters are freezing). Good day sunshine, for now!