Rockbrat Wonders: about some ‘uncool’ shows which rocked !

Rock n roll confession ! Yes, we’ve all been there. You get dragged to see some band who you are not really into, but lo and behold – you walk away with a new-found appreciation ! Over the years I used to see most major rock and metal bands if they toured, some were awful (Warrant in 1992, David Lee Roth in 1988, Yngwie Malmsteen in 1990). On the opposite side of the scale are those ‘uncool’ acts who you ended up thinking being more than impressed with.  ! Here are a few of Mr Rockbrat’s….blog disciples are welcome to add theirs…..I will add more as I think of ’em !

Simple Minds – Paris 1991.
As a motorcycle riding, leather jacket wearing, loud rock n roll disciple, bands like Simple Minds were never on my radar. Especially in the 80’s. Hell, they never woulda made the pages of Circus or Rock Scene anyway. Yet, in the summer of 1991 I was in the French capital and taken to see Simple Minds supported by Transvision Vamp. Well, suffice to say they were very cool. Some great tunes, a great live show and vocalist Jim Kerr gave a great performance. No I never did go and purchase the back-catalogue, but that night was a real suprise.

Michael Bolton – Canberra (2010)
Definitely not gonna win you points with your supercool punk pals, but make no mistake, Michael Bolton was great ! Okay so I had a head start on his career via Blackjack (any Kiss drone would know of the Bolton, Bruce Kulick connection – and he penned some tunes with Stanley as well), but he gets dissed by the majority as very ‘uncool’. Yet Flea’s soooo cool ? Gimme a break. Bolton’s voice is powerful, and he can do the tenor trip with ease. He had a killer back-up band, with two smoking hot female vocalists. At one point he disappeared from view and emerged in the centre of the crowd, actually inches away from me – and belted out a number. Is that an old Kiss trick ? Anyway, a great night and if you dismiss guys like this because of one or two massive AOR hits, well, your loss.

Elaine Paige – Canberra (2010)
Okay so I had free tickets, but that’s besides the point. I was never a fan of the theatre thing. Cats, Les Miserables whatever. Somebody clear those damn props so the rock band can set up ! But this legendary British songstress was astounding. As an unabashed all-girl band geek lifer, I have seen my fair share of lady vocalists. I love Joan Jett as much as Annie McCue, or Melanie Safka, or Gig Hangach, Lori Carson, Cheris Currie, Donita Sparks, Nicolette Larson, Kathleen Hanna, ONJ, Kat Bjelland etc all equal. They are all different and those few, and many other personal favorites get the thumbs up from Mr Rockbrat. However no one (with the possible exception of the late Eva Cassidy, whom I never saw law) will ever match the power and strength of Elaine Paige that night. It was power beyond anything I could imagine. The stuff to make your goosebumps get goosebumps. One show I will treasure.

Joe Cocker – Manchester (1991)
He was on a triple bill at Old Trafford, opening up for Rod Stewart, with Status Quo also on the bill. Joe Cocker wasn’t hip, right ? To me I just wanted to get to Quo and Rod. Man at about 5pm, this guy came onstage with no fanfare, no fuss. Just sauntered up to the mike and ripped into it. A great backup band. I knew most of his set, but it was the vibe, the tightness and energy of he and his band which I fondly recall. It set the mood for a great evening…..

John Paul Young – Manly (1988)
Again, not very cool to say you liked JPY in the 80’s. If you had that opinion, you lose. WTF couldn’t you have an open mind and go see The Church or Voodoo Lust one night, and JPY the next ? Nothing worse than a blinkered rock fan. This guy was always a great, fun night out. This one show from the late 80’s was great. He played an auditorium, with his amazing back-up band of legendary Oz rock musicians such as Ronnie Peel, ‘Pig’ Morgan and Johnny Dick. The place was jumping with many merry punters (was this a dinner show ?) up out of their seats and dancing.  Squeak’s place in Australia music history is assured, as his time at the Alberts ranch. Good time rock n roll folks.

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