We saw Russell at Southport RSL last night - there are no press reports because, apparently, Russell refused to be interviewed or photographed by the local press.
But he did eat dinner at the RSL bistro and by all accounts was very friendly to any fans that approached him and he was happy to sign autographs and to be photographed with fans, we got there a little late and missed this opportunity.
There were about 300 - 400 people attending the concert so everyone was able to get close to the action and see Russell and his band perform in comfort.
Russell was a little annoyed at the start because some of the house lights could not be turned off, but lived with it once he got going.
He and the band were in fine form and the set before encores lasted about 80 minutes. They performed all the songs from the new album except My Hand My Heart which was saved for the encore, the encore also included a long and very rocking version of Folsom Prison Blues and Molly Malone and took the whole performance to just under 2 hours.
Russell introduced some of his songs with great stories that gave the background to the song, like his friend Mickey who found something wonderful in everyday things
And his friendship with Richard Harris and how he had arranged to go with Richard to see Ireland play Australian in Dublin, but that Richard had died before the game. Russell still went to the game and for the first time in 37 years Ireland won in Dublin. Russell swears that Richard Harris was there helping Ireland in that game.
Also the heart wrenching story of how when he was a struggling actor in Bondi his grandfather called him to invite him to lunch and how Russell suggested the Japanese restaurant next door to where he was living. Russell and grandfather went to lunch but grandfather ate nothing, he was a World War 2 veteran and could not bring himself to each anything Japanese. Russell did not realise this at the time and commandeered all of the conversation.
Grandfather never did manage to tell Russell that he was dying of cancer, this was the initial reason behind the lunch invite in the first place. Understandably Russell has difficulty living with that.
There were a few light hearted moments when Russell and Alan Doyle mimicked Team America, and we learnt that the French cannot clap in time.
Russell looked really good, very trim and fit and dressed in a suit.
The performance was more polished than when we saw TOFOG at Surfers Paradise in 2003, Alan Doyle has good stage presence and adds greatly to the band.
It was requested that no photos be taken of the show and we complied with that request.
It was a great night and a great opportunity to see a gifted songwriter and story teller sharing his experiences with us.