If the weather gods thought that a little rain would keep the punters away from a magnificent afternoon of wine, music and dance, they were incredibly mistaken. In what is now a well-honed model for single day outdoor music festivals, Day On The Green delivered yet another stellar lineup of artists at Leconfield Winery in McLaren Vale on Sunday.
Early openers Machinations and The Models set the 80’s synth-pop tone with equally impressive sets that got most of us off our feet and at least head bobbing if not dancing. Machinations were energetic and singer Fred Loneragan was in fine voice.
The Models under the lead of Sean Kelly were good although the absence of the late James Freud was painfully evident. Although still musically tight, The Models don’t have the same punch without Freud’s smooth, retro vocals. They briefly paid tribute to their late friend with a ‘homage to James in the key of G’ being their lead in to their hit Barbados.
There was an overall good vibe among the crowd, many of whom where more of the ‘discerning’ genre as we like to identify ourselves. People had come not only for the relaxing, picnic-style affair that DOTG is all about, but more importantly to celebrate OUR era of music..and celebrate we sure did. The rain constantly drizzled throughout the day, but this wasn’t going to dampen anybody’s spirits as long as the music kept coming.
Headliners The B-52’s and Simple Minds needed no introduction, as they featured heavily in the soundtracks of those of us who were around in the 80’s. First off in a shared headline were The B-52s, with Cindy Wilson sporting a blue beehive and psychedelic blue Mu Mu, Kate Pierson looking divine with her red tresses and Groovy chic outfit, and of course the delightful Fred Schneider being his usual eccentric self. They covered songs from their entire career like Roam, 52 Girls, Love Shack, Private Idaho and of course saving the best until last with Planet Claire and Rock Lobster as their encore. And WOW, what a party they started! There is a quirkiness about The B-52’s that just lures you in. It’s the incredible harmonies of Wilson/Pierson and Schneider’s camp theatrics combined, they are simply amazing to watch and they really know how to make you ‘Dance This Mess Around’, so to speak.
Simple Minds topped the evening off, launching first into Waterfront and then Love Song, in a more subdued set that showcased their stadium sound coupled with brilliant lighting. It was synth gold. The 80’s vibe was felt as they dropped the soundtrack to our lives (for those of us who experienced the 80’s that is!) These Glaswegians were on fire…which was good because by the time they almost completed their set with their 80’s anthem Don’t You (Forget About Me), it was truly pissing down. It was ironic that the crowd were not only singing along with the iconic ‘La, Lala Lala, La La Lala’ chorus, but they must have conjured up the downpour whilst singing the the ‘Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling Down, down, down, down’ lines as well.
A HUGE thank you though, to the amazing person that handed my wife’s phone in after she’d dropped it. I’d love to buy you a drink as a gesture of thanks so please drop me a line. Such was the goodwill of punters throughout the day- a bunch of music loving, wine appreciating folk getting together to have a great time. Sometimes a gig like this is great at reminding us of what’s so great about being an Aussie!
Pics: John Goodridge.