Saturday was a big day for the beautiful region of McLaren Vale— whilst Hot Dub Time Machine was banging at Serafino Winery, I was visiting A Day On The Green and vibing out at Leconfield Winery. And when I say vibing, I mean it was packed with enthusiastic disco fans, some decked head to toe in the various costumes of their idols. I saw some incredible sequined jumpsuits, curly wigs and some rather raunchy renditions of Village People wandering about.
The day had started beautifully and by the time DJ Grand Master Baitz (classy name I know) had taken his place at the decks to warm the large crowd up, the sun was shining down upon us and warming the earth to a delectable 22 degrees. Adelaide has had a tough time showing summer lately, but summer it was out on the green. The smell of fresh pizza wafting from the food trucks only added to the atmosphere.
The show started slightly late, but by time Marcia Hines stepped out in her glorious, teal, jumpsuit with her suave backing singers, all was forgotten. There’s nothing like a power-love-dance-ballad to get the crowd pumping, treating the fans to a taste of ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before’ from her Velvet show. By the time she sang ‘Time of Our Lives’, the whole seated section in platinum were dancing illegally in the aisles (security were very precious about their walkways -which I greatly appreciated making the dash back to my seat with a drink).
The stand out was how impressive the two backing singers looked—despite the heat and their elaborate dance moves whilst belting out the tunes, they appeared to look just as fresh at the finish, as they did at the start in full 3-piece suits. Marcia finished with ‘Disco Inferno’, before peaking with an energetic cover of ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ in the style of Starz on 54.
Village People were the dark horse, with a surprise in the form of the original lead from the 1970s—Victor Willis—taking the stage with the younger version of the original act. While the show went well enough (there were audible sounds of pleasure when our biker man took his leather vest off and showed off his abs) there was a tired feel to the show. It did nothing to slow the crowd though, with the classics like ‘YMCA’, ‘In The Navy’ and ‘Go West’ getting people riled up and dancing. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed as many people spelling Y.M.C.A. out in one place.
Sister Sledge were a brilliant follow up, looking gorgeous in their matching black and glittering silver outfits. I’ll admit I rolled my eyes at the MC’s announcement that Sister Sledge were ‘taking us back to when music was music’, but the girls were fresh and had an impressive presence on stage. They fired up with ‘All American Girls’ and their classic ‘Frankie’. Of course there was no way that they could play ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’ and not have a dance competition—so that’s what they did! Two lucky members of the audience were brought up on stage, with the gentleman pulling of some pretty slick breakdancing moves.
Of course, it was sad to note that only three of the original members were up on stage, given their sister Joni passed away earlier this year. At the end of their set they revealed that the incredibly talented man that had been backing them throughout the show was in fact Thaddeus Whyte—Joni’s only son and truly rounding out the sound. The set included a remix of Chic’s ‘Good Times’ that included a cameo of DJ Grand Master Baitz and Kathy rapping parts of ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which was phenomenal. Of course they concluded the show with an epic rendition of ‘We Are Family’.
The crowning glory of the festival was the headliner KC and the Sunshine Band. Opening with the classic ‘(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty’, they were a roaring success from the get-go. ‘Boogie Shoes’ followed before lead singer Harry Casey introduced himself and the band with ‘I’ve recently gained twenty pounds and I was going to have to change the name to KFC and the Sunshine Band’ and my favourite—‘I’m your mum’s NSYNC’.
There was so much going on the stage that it became hard to focus; the dancers were flashing across the stage while the band had their own little moves between bars of the music. Casey had some magnificently sequined shirts that he flaunted whilst the backing singers matched. It was while KC and the Sunshine Band that it really became apparent that the sound balance wasn’t quite right when you were positioned to either side of the stage. It was perfect in the centre, but out in the open there seemed to be interference from the wind and slight distortion.
KC and the Sunshine Band had it all—classic hits that everyone could sing along to, dance anthems that everyone could move to, acrobatic dancers that dazzled and a five minute insane drum solo that left enough time for a complicated costume change. To close up they played an epic ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’—a fantastic finish for a wonderful day out.
Overall it was a beautiful day for both young and old (though the music was definitely more to the young-at-heart’s taste). There was plenty of space to dance and the crowd seemed well behaved, which was a surprise given how many bottles of wine I saw disappear in the row in front. A Day On The Green is fun for the whole family. You can check out the remaining shows here https://www.adayonthegreen.com.au/ —they still have dates in Victoria and Queensland.