The logistics of moving people on and off stage demanded that a Master of Ceremonies be employed to introduce and farewell the artists as their time on stage arrived.
The MC duties by ABC radio presenter Gary Jones who was resplendent in stage jacket were performed admirably and in great humour. Jones banter and genuine regard for the music and people shone brightly throughout the night.
Cyndi's some times Monday night sparring partner in the steak and wine mines of Brunswick, Kerri Simpson performed "Cry Down on Me" in a blues/gospel barnburner that reminded this writer of Janis Joplin. She received rousing applause for her fin, honest performance.
Returning the favour to Cyndi for her performance on the "Rosa Duets" album Barb Waters strode on the stage with Telecaster in hand as the quintessential rock chick. She sang "To My Left" accompanied by bassist Armanda Rochford. Soon to tour Europe with Cyndi she showed what a talent she is, lets hope that she receives the success that she deserves.
Tonchi McIntosh, who provided one of the many standout songs on Scrambled Eggs, introduced the song of Cyndi's that he was to perform as a song that revealed her great insight. The song "Little Boats" was released as a single by Cyndi as a fundraiser for refugees. Tonchi's version revealed just how good the song is and blew the crowd away. He received a huge response from the silent, rapt audience and indicated that perhaps he might soon receive the recognition that he deserves.
Closing out the first set was Jodi Moore and Michelle Brophy who are Dirty Lucy, their performance of "Think of Me" was a haunting vocal line interwoven with sonic fiddle sounds to create a stunning version of this song from the Home Truths album.
For her first song Cyndi brought to the stage Justin Brady from Things of Stone and Wood, John Bloom who was sitting in for Mia Dyson who couldn't be there playing Lap steel and Chris Ryan on banjo. They were joined by Vika and Linda Bull who made time out from their national tour with Kasey Chambers to sing the Dave Steel composition "Oh My Country" a song with resonance in these troubled times. It was a performance that was powerful, emotive and spine tingerling and kick started the second set.
"When you Look Back" was written by Andy Cowan who unfortunately was not able to be there on the night, instead helping Cyndi out was Kerri Simpson and Dave Steel. The song itself reminiscent of Tom Waits from his Asylum years. Next up joining Cyndi on "Ride" the Dirty Lucy song were the trio comprising Dave Steel, Sandy Brady and Tiffany Eckhart. Mark (Squeezebox) Wallace ex Weddings Parties Anything strode up to form a quartet to perform the Barb Waters paean to teenage angst "My Brothers First Girlfriend".
A quick change of musicians, Garret, Jodi Moore and Amanda Rochford, then Cyndi was into one of the best of many best songs on Scrambled Eggs, "Bridges" written by Tonchi McIntosh, then "I Can't Stand It Here By Myself" by Waifs member Vicki Simpson. Michelle Brophy joined in to help out on the GIT song "Car Outside the Bar" a honky tonker performed to perfection with a sing along chorus for the punters in the audience.
"Jesus on the mainland" a song from the pen of Maurice Frawley is a gospel groove which echoes of chain gangs and tent revivals. It was quickly followed by "Think about you" a fine love song written for Tiffany Eckharts' young child, its universality has transcended its original subject as all great songs do.
As if in keeping with the poignancy of many of the songs contents of the night the Boste song "No Way Out" closed out the set. The melody and lyrical content is far removed from the pessimistic title of the song and does indeed suggest that there is hope and optimism for those who strive towards it. Cyndi in her normal humble self-effacing manner was clearly overwhelmed by the audience response for an encore and in a continuation of the theme of togetherness and sharing of the night almost all of the artists appearing on the night joined the host in performing "Holy Waters".
The night was a joyous celebration of the enormous talent in this town and highlighted the results that can be achieved where artists assist, support and mentor their brethren in pursuit of their craft. Lets hope that all of these talented musicians achieve all that they dream.
1. Oh My
Country (Dave Steel)
Review by Peter O'Keefe 2004