THE "HARD ROAD" TOUR 2003
The "Hard Road" concerts
Fri Oct. 31 / Sat Nov. 1
Royal Theatre, Canberra.
For Stevie Wright it has been a “Hard Road” but he has reached the
crossroads with his head up high after a heart moving performance at the two
shows in Canberra…. Why there were empty seats at these shows has me baffled
but on the up side at least it allowed me to attend the Saturday show as
well… and what a bonus. My concerns that Stevie had pushed himself too hard
in Friday's show were allayed as he turned his performance up several notches
for the crowd on Saturday, even managing one of his famous karate kicks at
On Saturday we got a bonus with a very youthful looking Lonnie Lee dropping in for ‘Lets Play House’. Max Merritt was up next with ‘Fannie May’, ‘Western Union Man’, ‘Try a Little Tenderness’, ‘Slippin Away’ and finishing with ‘St Louis’. From my seat centre stage, front row and thanks to the low stage it was like having these guys playing in your living room ... and what a backing band! Borich and Manning on guitars, Dr Harry on bass, Jamie Rigg on keys and a big fat Hammond with Leslie speaker box, Kieran Roberts tucked away on second keyboards, three great backing vocalists and one hell of a drummer who didn’t miss a trick over the whole two nights, Mick Skelton.
Normie Rowe hit the stage next, and if you need an example that the male voice improves with age, here it was. His range has increased, its powerful and shows what can be gained from stage show work and constant touring. He worked that stage like a trouper … plenty of audience participation … quick with the wit, and when a female fan screamed out “I’ve loved you for thirty years, Normie!” he responded immediately with “Ya only human”. ‘Que Sera’, ‘Oh La La’ a moving “Ain’t Necessarily So’, ‘Its Not Easy’ and he took the challenge with a fantastic version of ‘Friday’.
Intermission…..lets take the time to talk about the fantastic sound…..for once we had sympathetic mixing, obviously tailored for our elderly status…not wimpy but not gut wrenching at the bottom end.
Full marks to promoter Tony Southwell for his direction. Changeover between
acts were pretty speedy with Donnie doing a great job while roadies scuttled
like roaches…and the stars themselves…not only are they singing better than
ever they all looked fit and tanned, if not a little thicker around the
waist ('cept for KB who must be working out) and that’s who led us into the
second half. From my seat I heard his guitar straight from the Marshal (not the FOH) and he played it like ‘a
ringing bell’. ‘Strange Imagination’, ‘Heartstarter’, ‘Mornin Good Mornin’,
‘Gonna See My Baby’, and then the meanest sounding riff of ‘Guitar Band’ cut
the air as KB and Phil drove that song to new heights. KB looked like he was
havin’ a lot of fun, he played so well and obviously felt happy to be paying
this tribute to Stevie.
|REFERENCES / LINKS|
More of Tony's photos from the Canberra concerts can be viewed on the Yahoo 'Rock'n'Roll Scars' site:
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MILESAGO Stevie Wright page: