Manchester legends 10cc were joined by Melbourne legend Russell Morris for a night at the zoo that was bursting with hits.

Header photo and all included images: Carbie Warbie

While attendees spread out their blankies to mark their territory and sort out food and beverage needs, Russell Morris and band perform glorious songs such as Wings of an Eagle, which Morris tells us was inspired by a Dreamtime story in which an eagle carries the soul before it is released into its next life. Morris’s voice sounds fantastic as we all “Wah-hoo” along and the soaring chorus melody is transportative.

Morris first rose to prominence in 1966 when the Melbourne group Somebody’s Image was formed and had a local hit with Joe South’s song Hush, which gets an airing tonight. As punters gather on the paths that border each side of the stage, they bust out some impressive gogo moves with gusto while singing along (“na-na-na-na/na-na-na/na-na-na”). We notice similarities between Sweet Sweet Love‘s verse melody and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, but are generally in awe of Morris’s back catalogue and this fantastic band. Morris dedicates a song he wrote with Jimmy Keays to the late lead singer of The Masters Apprentices and his smash hit The Real Thing (penned by Johnny Young) absolutely goes off – we feel like we’ve gatecrashed a Sunbury festival reunion! Eager to catch this act again sharpish.

We’re still waiting for our souvlakis when 10cc hit the stage, but hurry back to the front stalls in time to appreciate Art for Art’s Sake. Vocalist/bassist Graham Gouldman tells us his dad often used the phrase, “Art for art’s sake, money for god’s sake,” which inspired him to write said song. 10cc kick off their Australian tour this evening and although they admit they’ve never performed in a zoo before, they share a dad joke about expecting “a captive audience”. Relative newcomer to the band, Iain Hornal, also jokes that he’s dressed as a leopard tonight (in polka dots).

10cc

What’s most striking about 10cc is the diverse genres they explore through song. There’s the avant-grade phase (Life Is a Minestrone), the swoon-worthy soft rock they’re probably most famous for (I’m Not in Love) and everything in between. When Gouldman introduces a song that was written about a bomb on a plane, from the bomb’s perspective (Clockwork Creep), we reckon that’s just about the weirdest song inspo we’ve ever heard.

The harmonies are glorious throughout, particularly during The Things We Do for Love, and the musicianship on display here is astounding. Guitarist Rick Fenn lives in Byron Bay these days, and often tours with local legend Brian Cadd. When Hornal takes lead vocals on Say the Word, we get to see Gouldman, Fenn and Keith Hayman (Sir Cliff Richard’s MD) clowning around with some unison guitar-ography, stage right. OG 10cc member Paul Burgess gives main-set closer Dreadlock Holiday heaps of irresistible swing and we’re intrigued by the lyrics, having previously thought this was a song about cricket due to its first chorus.

10cc return to the stage for an encore during which they perform a stirring a-cappella version of Donna before closing with Rubber Bullets. “At the local dance at the local county jail” – there’s some full-on pogoing and skyward finger pointing going on in the crowd right about now. What a show! Nostalgic overload masterfully delivered.