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John

SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE

  • July 27 1998
  • London, UK

SET LIST

  • Age Of Reason
  • Reasons
  • Have A Little Faith
  • Simple Life
  • Everytime You Cry
  • Angels
  • Burn For You
  • A Touch Of Paradise
  • Help
  • Chain Reaction
  • Pressure Down
  • That's Freedom
  • Playing To Win
  • You're The Voice
  • She's so Fine
  • Sorry
  • It's A Long Way To The Top

BAND

  • Chong Lim
  • Angus Burchall
  • Lisa Edwards
  • Lindsay Field
  • Brett Garsed
  • Stuart Fraser
  • Steve Williams
  • Joe Creighton

CLAIRE'S REVIEW

It was truly amazing. I must admit that I was a bit worried about how John would perform (he's not as young as he used to be!) there was no support act or merchandise and we had to wait for well over an hour for John to come on-stage. Well as soon as he opened his mouth I realized I shouldn't have doubted him. His voice is still as strong as ever and the way he handles the crowd makes everyone feel involved and special, but you know all of this don't you! The atmosphere was electric, and us pommies even knew the words so I think John was quite surprised! Actually, the people were mainly Australian and the rest of the crowd was made up of John's nieces, nephews and cousins twice removed!

In the middle of 'Heart's on Fire' John was waving at someone in the balcony and walking backwards to the centre of the stage when he tripped over something. He had quite a nasty fall. Everyone was quite concerned but when the look of surprise on his face turned to a smile we knew he was okay. After that the band couldn't stop laughing.

I also got to meet John and Lisa Edwards outside the venue before the show. There weren't too many people so John stayed with us for quite a while chatting. When he was signing my ticket for me I told him I was so glad he had come over here because I thought I would have to wait till I was grown up and rich enough to visit Australia before I could see him. It made him laugh. While we were all out there, a car pulled up and the driver shouted 'Who is that bloke?' John shouted back 'I'm Kylie Minogue's father'. That made me laugh! Most people over here haven't even heard of John Farnham which is a shame because they are missing out on something so fantastic and unique. All the way through the show John kept saying 'Seriously folks, thank you, I wasn't expecting this, this is great. So maybe if he enjoyed it so much we will get to see him again.

MARTIN'S REVIEW

Having had the tickets for almost three months I'd just about forgotten about this show, but as the day arrived I found the usual anticipation for these events returning. It sometimes seems like nobody else in this little country knows who Farnham is, let alone anything about his work, so it was something of a surprise to see the queues snaked around the venue for some time before the doors opened. The usual gaggle of groupies were hanging around the stage door as we made our way in to find that surely every Australian in London had a ticket - Earls Court must have been empty!
Shepherds Bush Empire is an old theatre, with standing room at floor level and 3 levels of unreserved seating above. We were annoyed to discover that our level 1 tickets didn't allow access to the standing area, so satisfied ourselves with the best seats we could find with enough room to move around once things got going on stage.

Everyone wanted to swap Farnham stories - it seems that for many of the Aussie audience JF is regarded almost as a son that they're pleased is visiting after a long absence. I lost count of the number of middle - aged ladies who told me they'd seen him thirty-odd years ago at a tea dance in the back of beyond, or that he'd performed at their wedding or some such event - hmmm.
The tickets proclaimed John Farnham & 'Special Guests', and rumours were flying as to the mystery identity; those who knew that Kylie Minogue was appearing at the same venue, with the same band, two nights later, speculated it may be her. As it turned out no support act appeared ,and the Farnham band took the stage to everyone's surprise and delight to deliver Age of Reason - apt since it was that album which last saw them in London 7 years ago.
Unfortunately it seemed to take the sound engineer the first three songs to get a 'decent' sound to our upstairs ears - another reason for wanting to be down on the floor. However, by the time John had picked himself up after literally falling over a monitor (well he is getting on a bit!) and the band had launched into Simple Life all was well with the sound and the audience was beginning to warm up. For us Brits it was good to hear Every time you cry, the song that John recorded in Oz with Human Nature and so far unavailable here. Everyone was on top form - as Farnham himself said of his band 'at this level it doesn't get any better, it just gets different' - but the vocals from everyone were particularly impressive as they progressed through a set list with old and new favourites.
Highlights for this die-hard LRB fan had to be Playing to Win, as well as the remarkable Burn For You, performed with just an acoustic guitar and showing Johns incredible vocal range. Angus seemed to have an unusually reserved night on the kit - no solos tonight - but the virtuosity of the band shone through in every song. New(?) guitarist Stuart Fraser had a quiet start but proved himself a Rock and Roll man during the encores in particular and at least he didn't resort to the same ghastly leather trousers favoured by Brett Garsed! Lisa Edwards deserves a special mention for her duet on Angels - she really has a voice.
The main set came to a blistering end with (of course) You're the Voice, but we then had a great encore of rock and roll, finally sending the crowd home happy with the AC/DC classic that this band call 'It's a long way to the shop (if you want a sausage roll)'! The show lasted about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
This was a polished performance, but to my mind not so good as the last time I saw Farnham; maybe looking back always gives that impression, or maybe we're all seven years older and should peg our expectations accordingly. Don't misunderstand me though - this was a great gig, and I'm sure the Aussie bar next to the theatre did a great trade long after the curtain came down.