LIVE REVIEW – Jimmy Barnes and Jet – The AEC -Sunday 13 October 2019
Words Geoff Jenke
Photos Tony Polese
Jimmy was back in Adelaide with his Shutting Down Your Town tour, hitting The Entertainment Centre on a cool October evening. It may have been cool outside but things were going to be hot inside.
First up Karen Lee Andrews hit the stage with her guitar and with bass player Adam Ventoura and Adelaide’s own Yanya Boston behind the drums. Now I have to admit I did not know this lady before this evening, but boy am I going to change that after this performance. Karen has a powerful soul & blues voice and she can certainly play guitar. Troubled Mind from her 2018 E.P Far From Paradise had the hair on the back of my neck standing up and then I’ll Wait, a song inspired by her father, who she hasn’t seen for 15 years was a pure delight. She dedicated a song to Yanya’s mother “who is in the audience and it’s her birthday so let’s sing happy birthday”. The music was vibrant, warm and lush and yes, she can rock when needed. The trio delivered the blues perfectly.
Karen will be back in Adelaide on Saturday 9th November as part of November Nights at the Woodville Town Hall. Get your tickets now.
Jet hit Australia big in 2003 with the album Get Born, even winning the support slot for the 2003 Rolling Stones concert in Melbourne. I was at that gig and although had never heard Jet, I just knew they would make it big. They launched into Roll over DJ with pure swagger, not seen since Oasis folded. This was rock and roll in its purest form and they didn’t let up for the whole 45-minute set. Get What You Need, Come Around Again and the wonderful ballad’s Seventeen and Look What You’ve Done were all rolled out. “Time to get your phones out” muttered Nic Chester before playing Are you Gonna Be My Girl. But they still were not finished, slamming out Get Me Outta Hereand Cold Hard Bitch. Nic spotted Lionel who dances in the Mall in his brightly coloured suit, and said “let’s get that man on stage….. hmmm this could go anywhere”. Lionel got up and danced his way around stage to the tune Rip It Up. A wonderful end to the set. Jet still rock and let’s hope we see them back in Adelaide soon, headlining their own show.
Jimmy Barnes has to be the most iconic rock star to come out of Australia. Cold Chisel certainly were probably the most popular Australian rock band ever (well maybe after AC/DC) and they came out of good ol’ Adelaide. Jimmy went on after Chisel to produce some great solo albums and hits Adelaide on the back of one of his strongest albums in years, My Criminal Record.
Jimmy and his ensemble (10 if I counted correctly) walked on stage to the sounds of the Tom Waits song Goin’ Out West, pumping out the speakers. With the volume turned to maximum Jimmy and band wasted no time blasting into Driving Wheels. Jimmy maybe the elder statesman of Australian rock, who could surround himself with Australia’s finest musicians, but instead, he has one of the youngest backing bands in the business. These kids should still be at school (and their guitar techs looked even younger), however they could certainly play.
After Driving Wheels came two new songs, I’m In A Bad Mood and Stolen Car, from his latest album, My Criminal Record. No intro’s just song after song. Jimmy let the music do the talking. This evening was going have a heavy helping of songs from that album, which was just fine as most of the songs stood up alongside his more well know songs. Of course, he couldn’t get away without a few Chisel songs, the first being Khe Sanh with the audience hanging onto every word.
Jimmy introduced guitarist Danny Spencer “to play the blues” and Mahalia Barnes joined dad on vocals for Too Much Ain’t Enough, proving the powerful vocals run in the family. In fact, it was almost a family affair on stage with wife Jane on backing vocals with two other daughters, Jackie Barnes on drums (current drummer for Rose Tattoo) and I think there may have been a in-law on guitar as well. He introduced Jane with “she wrote a song for me in the 90’s and it was my only number 1 single”. They duly played Lover Lover.
Jimmy spoke of extreme poverty and violence when living in Glasgow and how things were going to better when they moved to Australia, only to end up in Elizabeth where things were the same. Before singing Money Talks he claims 50 years on things are not any better, not just here but in Sydney and Melbourne as well. John Lennon’s Working Class Man was one of the highlights of the evening with just a keyboard backing for most of the song. It was a commanding version and people who say Jimmy only screams need to listen to this version from the new album. THE highlight of the evening was Flame Trees, quite possibly Cold Chisel’s finest moment on record.
The set finished with a run of tracks from his 1985 Working Class Man album, I’d Die To Be With you Tonight, No Second Prize and of course Working Class Man. You couldn’t ask for a better run home.
However, the encore lost a few people. Stargazer from My Criminal Record started proceedings. Probably not one of Jimmy’s finest efforts, it had a few people leaving, probably only expecting a 2-song encore. Jimmy bought out Nic Chester from Jet for a duet on Good Times, originally done with INXS before playing a superb rendition of Bob Dylan’s Seven Days, a song that probably went over most people’s head as more people were leaving (it was on Freight Train Heart album) and Love and Hate did little to abate the exodus. But Jimmy being Jimmy left some of his best work to last with Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye).
Jimmy Barnes doesn’t do things by half. In his 60’s now he is a ball of energy and the sweat was pouring off him from the first song. He is a freight train that you cannot stop. The voice is probably a bit rougher around the edges and the scream, while still there, is more abbreviated. The show is high energy and loud (maybe too loud at times) as Jim stalks the stage nonstop. And the audience wouldn’t want it any other way.