Cold Chisel Blood MoonHeader image: Shotz by Jackson

Rochford Wines employs an all-GA set-up today and we spread out drop sheets under blankies to reserve our turf and prepare for the forecasted downpour.

Kitted out in Evel Knievel attire capped off with mullet wig and white towelling sweatband, A Day On The Green’s resident DJ Grand Master Baitz knows what’s up, dealing tracks by Aussie legends such as AC/DC, INXS, Models, Australian Crawl, Eurogliders and Richard Clapton. Once the rain sets in, he has his rainfall-themed cuts on hand and punters LOL, recognising the apt nature of the inclusion of Dragon’s Rain and Here Comes The Rain Again by Eurythmics.

“How’s the rain? It’s a blessing and a curse, right?” Magic Dirt’s rockin’ band leader Adalita Srsen observes, referring to our country’s ongoing bushfire crisis and urgent need for precipitation. Storming through their hits – including jilted-lover anthem Plastic Loveless Letter and head-banging  belter Pace It (“Can’t see it/Can’t feed it/Can’t steal it/Can’t keep it…”) – the ferocity of Magic Dirt lures us to our feet for a boogie, which we would’ve done whether or not our blanky was satched. Adalita truly embodies the spirit of rock’n’roll, and Magic Dirt are in the finest of form.

Just prior to Birds Of Tokyo’s set, a crew of obnoxious, poncho-wearing space invaders encroach on our turf. When one of them blows chunks – which his mates seem to find hilarious – it’s time to wring out our sopping-wet belongings and relocate.

Birds Of Tokyo put on a joyful performance and Ian Kenny looks absolutely chuffed to be up there on stage, showing off his sensitive side via this project. The romantic Plans was always gonna be a ginormous singalong moment, the poignant keys and dense riffs of Wild At Heart take us there, and then Kenny dedicates This Fire to our country’s current superheroes: the exhausted, hard-working firies. Birds Of Tokyo certainly are a worldclass live act.

It’s bloody hilarious watching punters trying to smoke in the designated smoking areas while drops of rain constantly extinguish their darts – you’ve gotta be pretty dedicated to battle through such conditions.

Miraculously, the rain subsides just in time for Cold Chisel’s set, which makes it a helluva lot easier to down Jim Beam liddies (even though our fingers are pruney). Kicking off with the barnstorming Standing On The Outside, it’s all systems go from the outset, and Cold Chisel present a generous, 26-song best-of set (including two encores!); there’s something for absolutely everyone! Crowd members “Aw” in appreciation as each song commences, with personal faves rolling out thick and fast. The Don Walker-penned Choirgirl is epic, and this band’s absolute mastery of tender, R&B-tinged ballads presented alongside 12-bar rockabilly blues (see: Rising Sun, which wonderfully showcases Walker’s ivory-tinkling majesty) is what sets them apart, giving them the edge.

The strength of Cold Chisel’s multiple songwriters/lead vocalists is displayed via the inclusion of My Baby, a tune penned by bassist Phil Small that utilises the dulcet tones of Ian Moss. Jimmy Barnes is also in fine voice, his trademark gruffness offset by a gentler delivery when required (e.g. Four Walls). Four songs from Cold Chisel’s 2019 album, Blood Moon, (read our review of the album here, and our interview with Don Walker about how the record came together here) get a run, and sit comfortably among their stone cold classics such as set highlights Saturday Night (“da-da-doooooo-da-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doooooo…”), the irresistible groove of working-class anthem Shipping Steel and bonafide sonic masterpieces Flame Trees and Khe Sanh (during which we realise our lyrical knowledge of these verses is akin to Advance Australia Fair‘s second verse!). Mossy’s glorious, supple riff elevates Forever Now – the penultimate song of Cold Chisel’s second encore – and his guitar chops are undeniable. Charley Drayton’s powerful, nuanced drumming also shines throughout.

Cold Chisel teamed up with Foodbank for their Blood Moon tour, and Barnsey encourages us to donate to this food relief organisation’s Bushfire Emergency appeal. In times of national emergency when images of Australia on fire and singed wildlife are permanently etched into our retinas, escapism is recommended – and today’s soggy, Glastonbury-esque conditions are not enough to dampen our collective spirits. Hopefully the fact that Rochford Wines doesn’t serve Cheap Wine will also equate to us waking up minus “three-day growth” on the morrow!