Cold Chisel’s latest run of Sydney shows doubled as their latest ‘last stand’, having famously played farewell concerts in 1983 bearing this moniker. Here in 2015, the same passion, power and fury was present, as the band bid goodbye to the soon-to-be-demolished Ent Cent (everyone always preferred that name) before it’s gone.

Grinspoon took a break from their hiatus to appear in a pleasant but predictable support slot. They blazed through most of their well-known songs (the notable exception being ‘DC×3’) and finished with the INXS cover, ‘Don’t Change’. It had been a short and fine rock show, even though it was obvious the crowd wanted to embrace its inner bogan.

Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes was in excellent singing voice, belting out ‘Standing On The Outside’, and things only grew exponentially from there. Ian Moss’ guitar playing was a real treat, both melodic and off-the-scales. ‘Barnesy’ and ‘Mossy’ were a veritable powerhouse along with the fabulous pianist Don Walker and the tight rhythm section, Phil Small and newcomer Charley Drayton. Together, they gave a metaphorical ‘fuck you’ to any naysayers that tried to dismiss them as old rockers.

Chisel’s shows are an eclectic mix where you can coast along for the subtle ‘Choirgirl’, then enjoy the funk factor on ‘Rising Sun’ thanks to long-time touring saxophonist Andy Bickers. ‘Cheap Wine’ had everyone singing along and hiding the fact they could relate to the ‘rocket fuels’ in the lyrics.

The longer second half of the show was virtually all killer and no filler. There was our unofficial national anthem ‘Khe Sanh’ and ‘Flame Trees’, a virtual hymn that’s known to make hardened men cry. It was a feast of nostalgia with a setlist inspired by the 1983 shows and a desire to tear down the venue with music. Chisel also threw in some covers: ‘Georgia On My Mind’ (made famous by Ray Charles), Chip Taylor’s ‘Wild Thing’ and Roy Hamilton’s ‘Don’t Let Go’.

It was fitting, as always, to finish with ‘Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye)’. It had been both a stunning farewell and a jubilant return to a venue that became synonymous long ago with the Chisel name.


Originally published on 17 December 2015 at the following website:

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