Red Hot Summer Tour
Bella Vista Farm, Baulkham Hills NSW
February 3rd, 2019
Featuring: Jimmy Barnes, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, The Living End, Diesel, Richard Clapton and Chocolate Starfish
What an aptly named event for an Australian tour, it certainly has been a red hot Summer and today was no exception. A scorching 33 degrees on Bella Vista Farm, though it felt more like 40 under the direct sun. Of course, our summer wasn’t really the inspiration for the tour name, Jimmy Barnes’ cover of Billy Lee Riley’s – ‘Red Hot’ was the inspiration, after a successful tour playing in regional tourist areas, Red Hot Summer Tour was born.
Driving along the dusty paddock to the gates of the farm, it was hard not to notice the wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses fashioned by the lovers of music, with their coolers and picnic blankets in tow. Event organisers had done a fantastic job, making it easy to navigate around the farm. Thank goodness, as I was flying solo today and running behind schedule. After a quick check-in at the gate and a thorough bag check by event security, I was ready to begin my day. Noting the ample portable toilets to the right of the entrance and a water station just a little further on, that would no doubt be well utilised today. Food vans and bars lined the fence at the rear of the farm.
As I stood at the top of the hill, I was overwhelmed by the sight of thousands of fans that had quickly claimed their positions. I wondered how in hell I was going to get through them, to get somewhat close to the stage, where Chocolate Starfish were already playing. I soon realised several walk-ways had been laid out for this very purpose. Breathing a sigh of relief, I made my way down to the stage, slapped on a thick layer of sunscreen, threw on my hat and joined the fans standing in front of the stage, just in time for ‘You’re So Vain’. Adam Thompson looking exuberant as always, in his fabulous red and silver suit, giving his all to the crowd. We were treated to a 4 Non-Blondes cover – ‘What’s Up’, everyone waving their arms and singing along. Adam instructed the film crew to “shoot them beautiful people”. The frontman finished the set by prompting everyone to take their phones out of their pockets for the “ten thousand selfie” and upload it online. He then jumped off the stage and called for everyone to follow him to the merch stand for photos and autographs.
I took this opportunity to find some respite in the shade and re-hydrate, before the next band. It was at this time I noticed the rubber on the bottom of my shoes was melting. I can’t say I’ve ever been in a situation where this has happened. I knew it was hot, but didn’t realise the intensity of it.
Richard Clapton was up next, informing us he was going to “play the music your parents listened to”. Thankfully, I enjoyed the music my parents listened to and enjoyed singing along to classics, such as ‘Girls on the Avenue’ and ‘Deep Water’ being performed live. Clapton took the crowd on a nice trip down memory lane, his voice sounding as essential, as it did all those years ago. Diesel jumped on stage and got straight into his set, with ‘Give Me Saturday Night’ and ‘Lookin’ For Love’. The standing area in front of the stage area was filling up, with a sea of hats swaying in time. Diesel sounding even better than the last time I heard him, his vocals sounding loud and fierce. Nothing needs to be said about his consistently tasty guitar work. The rock legend doesn’t venture far from behind his microphone, nor does he need to, as he belted out a set full of favourites – ‘Man Alive’, ‘I Don’t Need Love’ and ‘Tip of my Tongue’ just to name a few. Finishing the classic set off with ‘Crying Shame’. No sooner had Diesel left the stage, the crowd dissipated quite rapidly, no doubt to seek refuge from the blistering sun.
The Living End hit the stage, Chris Cheney asking “where the fuck’s the crowd”? As they slowly came running back down to the stage. ‘Don’t Lose It’ from their latest album Wunderbar, kicked off the set. Cheney, unsatisfied with the crowd’s interaction, screamed out “this is not a tea party, get out of your chairs. This is a rock ‘n’ roll gig!”. ‘Second Solution’ followed. The crowd mustered up all their energy, in an attempt to rock along. Cheney egging the crowd on, telling them “that’s pathetic, c’mon” and managed to get the crowd singing out “Solution!” towards the end of the song. More hits continued, ‘Til The End’, ‘Death of the American Dream’, ‘Roll On’, ‘All Torn Down’, ‘White Noise’ and an obvious crowd favourite, ‘Prisoner of Society’. Despite the heat, The Living End performed a high energy set, with the usual shenanigans with the double bass, fans have come to expect.
After another short interval, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts bounced on to the stage, heading straight in to an 80’s hit, ‘Victim Of Circumstance’. Joan Jett, now 60, is absolutely timeless in every way possible and such a huge icon to many. A fitting testament, was the standing crowd in the stage area, that spilled on to the grassed area and people finally out of their seats, rocking out. Classic hit from The Runaways, ‘Cherry Bomb’ moved us forward. Joan pausing to greet us, “G’day Sydney, we’re the Blackhearts from Los Angeles. Aussie Aussie Aussie”, the crowd responding with an appropriate “Oi Oi OI’. Popular track ‘Do Ya Wanna Touch Me’ had the crowd throwing their fists in the air. The music stopping, to allow everyone that was singing out, to be heard, “there, where, yeah”. A vast array of classic hits were thoroughly enjoyed. Kenny Laguna (Blackhearts co-founder) chatted with the crowd, telling us stories of the challenges he and Joan faced back in the day, before they could get a record deal. More hits followed; ‘Fake Friends’, ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll‘, my personal favourite – ‘Crimson and Clover’, ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’ and ‘Every Day People’ bringing the set to a close. The sound was absolutely bang on. If you closed your eyes, you would never have known it was 2019.
Day turned to dusk, bringing with it a slight breeze that brought about much relief for everyone. Sadly, some people didn’t make it through the relentless heat of the day and either left early, or were taken away on a stretcher after passing out. Yes, it was that hot. I was grateful for the shade I could rest in between bands.
Headlining the day, was the man with the voice that is larger than life, Jimmy Barnes. Jimmy announcing to all that he woke up in a ‘Bad Mood’, and he’s still in a Bad Mood… transporting us to a new song from upcoming album, My Criminal Record. Jimmy, as lively as ever, with the stage his true home. Two tracks from The Working Class Man were played, back to back – ‘I’d Die To Be With You Tonight’ and ‘Ride The Night Away’. Then we were taken back to 1982 with ‘You Got Nothing I Want’. The crowd now at a comfortable temperature, found it easy to rock along with Jimmy, and did just that. Son Jackie Barnes doing a cracker job on drums. I’ve always felt that witnessing Jimmy Barnes perform, is like becoming an extended part of the Barnes family. It’s such a family affair for them. They are so inclusive and supportive of each other, it’s a truly heartwarming feeling. Jimmy performed a tireless selection from his extensive catalogue, including ‘Stone Cold’, ‘Lay Down Your Guns’, ‘No Second Prize’ and ‘Flame Trees’. Incorporating five or so new tracks from his upcoming album into his set, which included a John Lennon cover – ‘Working Class Hero’.
All too quickly, it was time to leave the farm. It had been an unbelievably long day under the duress of the sun. I have to give massive kudos not only to the amazing performers today, but to the fans, who regardless of the temperature, gave it their absolute all to show their appreciation and dedication to live music and rock ‘n roll.
All three series of Red Hot Summer are touring Australia currently. These events are selling out at a rapid pace, so get in fast to secure your ticket to what is a fantastic day.
Festival Review by Trudy Johnson @BrutalTrudes
Photo Gallery courtesy of Mick Goddard (MickG Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mick Goddard if you repost.
The Living End
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Red Hot Summer Tour 2019
Feat. Jimmy Barnes, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Living End, Diesel, Richard Clapton and Chocolate Starfish
Saturday 9th February 2019 – SOLD OUT
Sandstone Point Hotel, BRIBIE ISLAND QLD
Sunday 10th February 2019
Sandstone Point Hotel, BRIBIE ISLAND QLD