Meredith Festival, Victoria
December 14, 2003
I ventured across Australia (thank God for a discount airline like Virgin Blue), from Perth to see Radio Birdman, as I did the year before for the Melbourne gigs.
The whole weekend was awesome!!! I reckon Meredith is the best festival Ive been to. There is only one stage, so theres no confusion and clashes with other bands that may be playing. Everyone at the festival is the one audience for each act. And there was a huge crowd thousands.
I had great expectations for this gig. I thought the band would be white hot after the recent touring. I just chilled out with all the pre-Birdman bands. Of them, Warped were pretty good.
I dont want to go into a full set list due to too much pre-mid and post Birdman cheer. I cant remember each song. I do know that whatever they do, Im happy. The tunes all blend into a whole experience, for me anyway. Since getting into Birdman in about 1986 I wished to see them live and always thought it such a pipedream for them to reform. Well these last eight years have been have been a blessing from the Rock Gods.
Saturday night at the Meredith festival was the night I saw my dream come true. Radio Birdman were headlining this festival (after having been second billed at that festival in Spain to Twisted Sister). They took the stage and the full population of the crowd (minus a few stoners - who came later anyway). All were ready to receive the law according to Radio Birdman. There were a lot of your diehard fans up the front and a few of the Melbourne Music fraternity up front. The rest were those who probably had heard of Radio Birdman once, thinking they were some band from America or something, and there were others who were totally uninitiated. Tonight was the night of their conversion.
It goes without saying that each member of Radio Birdman is basically a virtuoso at what he does; they have no issue with technicalities of music. They are always on the next level of what can be done with music.
I have seen a lot of that Rage footage of Birdman and how wild Rob danced back then. Tonight, I saw Rob the most animated I had seen him since the reunions. Rob gradually progressed into a seething viper! His long and stoney stares into the audience grabbed the minds of the crowd. They played loud, tight and fluid and projected awsome riffs that get nailed through your mind.
They had a sound of grandeur tonight. They took their time with numbers like Love Kills and Man with Golden Helmet. They built every song up to amazing crescendos. They took these songs to other realms tonight. It had a psychedelic, otherworld feel to it as well as the kick ass rock'n'roll that only Birdman can produce.
I feel like I am seeing the real deal every time I see Radio Birdman. Its like this is the way it should be done.
Even though rock'n'roll as a form of music is creative and should have no boundaries and confinements, I just dont get the kick out of it as much as I do from a Birdman concert. And Ive been seeing gigs since 86.
Midway through New Race I stepped back and took stock of myself and also what was going on around me. The band was burning rubber, hurling searing lead solos from Deniz and Chris, both of whom were cranking out some awseome lead breaks and completing a perfect balance for the band. The crowd - the whole crowd - was heaving, shaking screaming and punching the air. I had flashbacks of the picture in the Birdman book of a 70s crowd shot of a Paddington Town Hall gig and it was alternating with what I was seeing tonight except multiply the crowd by about 20-30 times. I always wanted to see Birdman headline a gig with a huge crowd and then clinically mow everyone down.
Tonights performance was a tantalising hark from the bleary past and a scream from the wilderness of things to come. Yeah HUP!!!
I cant wait for the new album and I hope something is organised for a Perth tour someday!!!!!!! Meredith cranks!!!
- Stuart L
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