GOLD COAST TUESDAY JULY 30
The apartment we stayed in overlooked the wild brutal ocean and she roared all day and night. It was mesmerising. There’s a sign downstairs spruiking an old café but now it’s all locked up, like a long forgotten theme park consumed by weeds. Either side of us lay half-empty apartments, roadworks and concrete, eroded sandbanks and a jaw-dropping coastline.
Tonight I asked the crowd if there were any hip hop fans and there must have been at least 10. Great gig. Paul plays, Paul slays. We stand side of stage as the band deliberate on an encore, it’s a moot point due to the standing ovation but still the band stand momentarily confused awaiting instruction. Paul catches Dickie’s eyes (monitors) and calls out the songs and their order. They walk on stage and the crowd roar.
LAKE KAWANA (Sunny Coast) WEDNESDAY JULY 31
We play at Lake Kawana’s Community Centre: a school hall of a venue with a stage at each end leaving me wondering if we’re having a Battle of the Bands tonight. In a particularly rambunctious moment late in Paul’s set, the Sunny Coast audience break out of the lifeless décor and invade the walkways filling the space in front of the stage. Security initially panic, barking at people to sit down. The merch seller Jamie reported later that one security guard ran into the foyer yelling that people were getting out of control. You know it’s a theatre show when a few people getting out of their seats to dance provoke fears of a riot. After a frantic 3 or 4 minutes it dawns on the security that these wild mavericks are for the most part middle aged women posing little threat other than stowing away in the palm of Paul’s hand.
It’s impossible not to smile.
BRISBANE – THURSDAY AUGUST 1
One of the fortunate perks of this tour is performing on stages in rooms like QPAC, a spectacular sounding concert hall. James, truck driver (and our engineer for the tour) tells a story of Reece Mastin performing here and the kids tearing apart the chairs. I’ve never spent any time with his music but I had thought he was a Wiggles spin-off so I was initially impressed. The beautiful setting gave way to a slightly stuffier vibe but the standing ovations for Paul’s set unequivocally cleared the air. This is the kind of room where it’s either a triumph or a failure and you can guess who was standing under the glitter cannon at the final siren. The Vine reported on the show here.
PORT MACQUARIE SATURDAY AUGUST 3
I’ve been away from my newborn baby Jetta for 10 days and she was a sight for sore, tired eyes as I walked through the arrivals door at Newcastle Airport.
The following day we drove to Port Macquarie and surprisingly, one of the best shows yet. Tonight could’ve gone either way – the Glasshouse Theatre looks like a wall of corks and apart from Festival of the Sun I’ve never played shows here – but tonight was something else. It was great, dangerously so. Are we getting comfortable? Is that bad? This wasn’t supposed to happen.
NEWCASTLE MONDAY AUGUST 5
The text message comes from PK: there’s an oval near Nobby’s Beach perfect for a kick of the Sherrin. Paul is handy with both left and right boots and kicks with a consistency neither myself or the rest of the crew can manage. As usual, he goes about it without fanfare or obvious disappointment at our wayward shanks and failed attempts to mark the ball. For God knows what reason I agree on a swim in the crisp winter surf a stone’s throw away from where the Pasha Bulker ran aground. Newcastle’s beautiful Civic Theatre turns it on that night and my mother in law watches the show. Thinking ahead, I invested in some earplugs for her and it turns out they paid off – she stayed the whole night.
Tomorrow we head to Geelong, Melbourne and Ballarat for 5 shows in 5 days.