Luisa and Claudia from Barcelona:
We had the chance to spend Easter holidays in Australia, and we attended the shows that Russell and TOFOG2 held in Melbourne at Grand Central, in Sydney at The Vanguard and finally at the Royal Easter Show. Being our first Oz & shows experience, here is our brief report.
The Grand Central is a very cozy space, first row tables extremely close to the stage, which allows for a wonderful interaction between fans and the band. Russell looked relaxed. As we were used to the standing shows a la Austin and Chicago, it was difficult not to tap our feet or shake our heads to the music. Fortunately, by the end of the act Russell showed some mercy and called out for people to dance, which everyone from the back and some of us in front promptly did. It would be very awkward to be seating during Folsom & Testify! Note about pictures there: we asked the waitress if they were allowed, and she said that last week Russell said he would leave the premises if pictures were taken. During the show, however, flashes and cameras happily went on, and Russell was half poking fun half looking tired of the whole thing. By the end of the show, a security man from the place asked politely not to use flashes. In short, pick your choice. Very confusing, though highly satisfying for those who could take pictures.
The Vanguard. Very different from the Grand Central as the stage is higher from the table, but still we got a good table, and good view. People with cheaper tickets are in the balcony, hence it is more difficult for them to jump to the first row when called (which Russell did, by the beginning of Folsom). The opening act was very entertaining. The show was more energized than the Melbourne one, perhaps because they feel more comfortable even though the stage is tiny, tiny, tiny. He did not sing Barry Kable in Melbourne (though it was on the options of the set list) but he did sing it in Sydney and it was a great rendition, everybody got into the song. Not much of a dancing night, but there is always a spot for those who are willing :) Even though the audience was on the whole not familiar with TOFOG, except for a handful, people ended up getting into the music (a couple of girls were there because they had seen them on TV a while ago and found out about the show very recently).
Royal Easter Show: what a rollercoaster of experiences, from the The Vanguard to a country fair! Fun & family, rodeos and cowboy hats all over the place, in a very odd setting as it was the Olympic park, very modern, everything well organized. The opening acts had close to zero attendance, and it is true that while Russell was doing his soundcheck, nobody was there except for die-hard fans. When the opening acts ended, and the rodeo finished, people started pouring in the amphitheatre. This one was more similar to the old shows (standing) and also more fun: at least you can dance to Bayou and What You Want Me To Forget! The sound was not good, which cut Russell talking (first row and you could practically hear nothing, lucky that we know the songs by heart). The show was shorter due to that, or perhaps they decided on doing a shorter show since the last train from the Olympic park left at 11:30PM, and there was no other transportation unless you chose to charter a boat.... Also here, not a die-hard fan audience (two girls had heard about the show barely that morning), but in the end many of them were engaged. Mixed audience, both male and female, youngs and families as well.
So, wonderful chance to see a different TOFOG in a different country, with the great addition of the bass guitar and the pianist, which allows for good solos in which Russell can sit and enjoy the music as well, exceptionally comfortable venues, though we miss the old standing shows, and we would do it all over again without a blink of a doubt.
Everyone was charming, gracious and very kind. The guys as always very polite, Bruno with his mind in a gazillion things at a time and yet also always considerate and nice. And Russell looked great, needless to say? As soon as he gets out on the stage, you forget about flights and you concentrate on what & who is standing in front of you.
We are headed back to the airport in 15 mn, when we get home we will be sending some pictures. Thanks for the work you put into your page & take care.
Image from NewsPix thanks to Ivani