by Maryanne Window
Melbourne Zoo has proven itself through the summer twilight series to be one of the premier outdoor concert venues in Melbourne. Its proximity to the city and public transport, ample free parking and comfortable set up in terms of visibility and sound quality makes it an enjoyable experience right off the bat. The calibre of the music and performances last Friday evening was befitting of the setting and the chilled crowd, from the first note of opener and local favourite Russell Morris and his band, right through to the final encore of the headliners 10CC.
It could have been Sunbury 1972 sitting on the lawn listening to Russell Morris belt out hits such as Sweet Sweet Love, Hush and his signature tune The Real Thing penned by Young Talent Time’s own Johnny Young and produced by Molly Meldrum back in 1969. It was great to hear newer material too most notably his co-write with the late Jim Keays Black Dog Blues from his acclaimed Sharkmouth album.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from 10CC given that it’s current incarnation is built around only one original member in Graham Gouldman. There’s no doubt that 2020 version of 10CC is very much Gouldman’s band and this sat perfectly well with this reviewer and the near capacity crowd that came to see them. Having written hits such as For Your Love and Heart Full of Soul for the Yardbirds and the classic Hollies tunes Look Through Any Window and Bus Stop among others, his musicality and story telling alone were worth the price of admission.
Joined by long time members drummer Paul Burgess and Rick Fenn on drums and guitar respectively, Gouldman wielded the bass and sang like it was 1975. The addition of vocalist and multi instrumentalist Ianin Hornal proved to be a perfect fit for the band as was keyboardist/vocalist/guitarist Keith Hayman. Sure there was no Godley, Creme or Stewart, but they really didn’t sound missed to my ears at any stage throughout this performance.
Opening with the rocking Art For Art’s Sake, Gouldman explained that the main title and refrain came from something his father used to say “Art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake!”
There were a mix of classic hits throughout the set, interspersed with the deeper album cuts which were more in the vein of avant garde experimental than the yacht rock style Gold 104 favourites. Stand outs were the Sparks-esque Life is a Minestrone and Feel the Benefit – a saying Gouldman’s mother was renowned for whenever he would leave his coat on inside during freezing temps. “Take your coat of inside so that when you wear it out in the cold you will feel the benefit!” The latter featured a fantastic lead bass line throughout and sat perfectly beside The Things We Do For Love, I’m Not In Love and the definite crowd favourite Dreadlock Holiday.
The encore highlighted the sophisticated vocal harmonies 10CC are famous for with an Acapella version of their debut single Donna, an homage to the Doo-wop style of the ’50s penned by Godley and Creme, but it was the closer Rubber Bullets that made this show for me. It was full of energy and rocked with a sharp edge. The fact that these fellas looked and sounded like they were having the time of their lives was infectious and the crowd were definitely tuned into it. I’m pretty sure the whole place was on their feet by now having kicked away the cheese and crackers and picnic rugs to join the band on the ride through the county jail. A fantastic finish to a fantastic show!