An Evening With Crowded House
It didn’t start off too well.
We were stuck at the traffic lights, the Librarian and I, just a stone’s throw away from the gates of Sandalford Estate. The lights cycled through their limited spectrum again and again while the traffic inched its way forward. That, my friends, is what happens when the Sandalford Estate hosts a concert – their gates are that close to the traffic lights. Still, the sense of anticipation kept growing through each light change and that was a surprisingly good feeling; kind of like the feeling you get before, err, never mind.
I can’t remember how many light cycles we endured before we got through that infernal intersection but we eventually made it through the gates and into Sandalford Estate for the first time in our lives. The attendants waved us on towards our parking spot which turned out to be close to the security stations. The queues outside the stations were building by the second so we quickly grabbed our esky, rug and jackets (in anticipation of another cool and windy November night) and joined the throngs of shiny, happy people.
Just before the station a large sign advised us on what the good little boys and girls were allowed to take into the concert area and what the naughty little boys and girls should not even think about taking in. The Librarian was pleased to see small digital cameras on the “allowed” list since she was carrying a couple of those gadgets, and I was pleased to see that same list also contained blunt metal cutlery – one does like to butter one’s bread just before eating, one does. Unfortunately, the security guard disagreed with the sign’s blunt metal clause and told me he could dispose of them for me – helpful chap.
So I trudged back to the car with my blunt butter knife. No butter on my bread then. The Librarian took the rest of the items through security without any further hassles and went looking for the best vantage point while I fumed my way back to the car – if not for that meddling security guard I could have carried out my nefarious plan to butter the patrons to death, curse him.
Butter knife safely ensconced in the car I trudged back through security only to meet the Librarian making her way out. She had found an ideal spot but one that wouldn’t allow our (apparently) large esky. It was her turn to trudge to the car while I went looking for an ideal spot.
I couldn’t find one.
There was a rope several metres from the stage and all the patrons were sitting behind this rope. There were picnic rugs as far as the eye could see. The best spot I could find was one about two hundred metres from the rope.
Several minutes later I was hanging my head in shame. The Librarian had found a spot two meters from the stage.
In my defence I swear I didn’t realize we were allowed past the rope. How was I to know that the rope was merely the demarcation between the “esky and low backed chair” area and the “rugs and bags only” area? No, really, how was I to know? But well done, Librarian. We couldn’t get any closer to the stage without imprinting the chain link fence on our bodies.
From then on the night kept getting better. Jet planes were constantly passing low overhead but the roar of their engines were, thankfully, drowned by the music of the two opening acts (The Ghost Hotel and Oh Mercy.) There’s not much to say about those opening acts except that they were fine but nothing memorable. I can’t even describe the members of the bands. Except for Oh Mercy’s bass player. I can describe her in detail.
(Err, sorry! I was reminiscing. Ahem!)
The interval between the second support act and Crowded House provided the ideal opportunity to take my bladder for a walk. Destination: portable rooms with bright orange doors. One set of doors labelled “FEMALE” was graced with a very long queue of less than happy looking women. A second set of doors labelled “UNISEX” was graced by an equally long queue of people, none of whom were men and none of whom looked happy. The third set of toilets was labelled “MALE URINALS” (note to self: look up female urinals) with no queue at all.
I walked past the long queues and smiled at the ladies. They didn’t smile back. Barely a couple of minutes later I walked back past the long queues and smiled at the ladies again. The looks they gave me told me they wanted to rip a certain part off me and beat me over the head with it.
There were many more people in front of the rope by the time I got back. The rugs were folded, the cameras were prepped, and nature provided us with a breathtaking sunset. The excitement was building. Then, suddenly, the lights on the stage blazed and Matt Sherrod ran onto the stage.
“Roarrrrrr,” said eight thousand voices.
Mark Hart and Nick Seymour appeared.
“Roarrrrrrrrr,” said eight thousand voices.
And then there was Neil Finn bounding onto the stage.
“ROARRRRRRRRRRRRR,” said eight thousand voices much to the surprise of the jet passing overhead.
And then Crowded House and eight thousand of us sang. It was one of the most beautiful things I have heard. Several times during the show Neil stopped singing and stood back to listen. He even stopped to point out that we couldn’t see the stars due to the clouds so he wanted us to make our own stars. The stage lights went down and Sandalford Estate was lit by thousands of mobile phones while we sang.
Nothing spoiled the night. Not even the the woman who turned up from nowhere to rub up against the Librarian before rushing off into the crowd again (this was not even remotely arousing, not with that strange woman; it was merely bizarre.) Not even the Perth noise ordinances which ensured that the concert finished at 9:45pm (please don’t ridicule us Sydney, Melbourne…everywhere else.)
The sky was ablaze with colour (“puces, pinks, mauves,” said artist Nick Seymour; “fucking purples,” rejoined Neil.) The Sandalford Estate was awash with music. The night was alive with magic.
Thank you Crowded House.
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