06-03-1999

The Forum - Melbourne, Australia

By MAD

Photos by MICHELLE HARMER

A magical ancient Greek setting, neon strobe lights, paint pastel princesses and an inflatable condom? It could have only happened at The Forum, silverchair's final Australian show before jetting off to their overseas gigs...

I arrived there a little early...about half the trip was taken up by driving up Flinder's Street, where traffic was practically crawling along. It wasn't hard to tell there was something going down at the old Forum theatre though, because...well, because of the hundreds of people standing outside...there were so many of them that at one point the traffic couldn't use the inner lane because all the silverchair fans were standing on the road! However, after deploying a few well-mannered security guys to clean up the crowd, we all slowly shuffled in.

When I moved into the main theatre itself I immediately felt totally and completely cut that I hadn't bought a camera...for one thing, I wasn't checked at the door by ANYONE, for another thing, the Forum offers the greatest views of the stage practically WHEREVER you stood! Emma... Sarah... SOMEONE... PLEASE tell us you brought a camera along! I feel so deprived for not doing so!

The setting was magical...the whole place was decked out with Greek columns and statues, there was a fake blue sky above us with pinpoint lights that looked just like stars, and the stage was surrounded by an elaborate facade of baroque design. The stage itself was a dramatic black, with mirror balls hanging from the ceiling and four neon cylinders (which would later emphasise the 'chair's set). The theatre was very intimate, and because management had wisely restricted the number of tickets sold, it wasn't so packed that you could get really close to the stage if you wanted to.

But enough gushing about the theatre itself...After a wait, Something For Kate kicked it off onstage. They are an awesome Melbourne band who deserve a lot of attention...for the most part they got it, too, as when they launched into their mega-hit 'Captain' everybody screamed and rushed onto the dance floor to get down, so to speak. I believe crowdsurfing was banned; I don't mind that though, because I hate getting kicked in the head, anyway. After a short set, SFK's lead singer announced, "this is our last song" which drew a few rather unpolite cheers from the crowd...ah well, I did enjoy them, but I, too, was hanging out for the major act...

After a seemingly interminable wait (note to the band: you made us wait too long, guys!) fiiinally the De Niro monologue was heard through the speakers and the band stalked onto the stage... Daniel was wearing that glitter shirt from the 'Anthem' vid...Chris was with those big red pants and Ben, naturally, was shirtless...Chris was also bald again! People have said that they can't see Sam Holloway properly onstage but at the Forum he was way out in full view, right next to Daniel. I swear I was getting the best look at the band I had ever had (oh for a camera)!

People were suprised when the band hit into Emotion Sickness first...a lot louder and more raw than the recorded version. But nonetheless full of...erm...emotion! Israel's Son was next as another suprise. The band hit this old tune with vigor, and everyone put their hands in the air, punching their fists at the ceiling...I can't remember the exact setlist (someone else will though, I bet!) but the next two songs were Abuse Me and Slave, Freak Show era tunes that were favourites with the crowd. At this point, Daniel said something like, "those were old songs. Now here's a new song". Forgive me for not remembering the order, but I believe this was 'Ana's Song'. It was very heartfelt performed live, and it wasn't just 'Daniel's' song, either, as Ben and Chris also put their all into it. Somewhere along the course of the night came 'Miss You Love'. This is where the inflatable condom made its appearance, bobbing along the heads of the moshpit members who batted it up in the air from one person to another. A strange song for it to appear in, I think.

Daniel announced in an authoriative tone to the crowd - "Eat a beaver. Save a tree." There was a confused silence from the crowd. Daniel patiently explained: "Beavers eat trees, right? So the more beavers there are, the less trees, right? So, save the trees by eating beavers...then there'll be less of them to eat the trees..." Uh huh, whatever...

Other new songs played were Paint Pastel Princess (which was awesome) and Satin Sheets...and oh yes, how could I forget Anthem...Daniel was pleased that the crowd already knew enough lyrics to sing it by themselves in part! I was happy to go into the thick of the mosh and jump around for The Door, Freak and Pure Massacre, although I accidentally landed really hard on one guy's foot...If you're reading this and that was you, I'm sorry. :)

The band finished up with Spawn Again, which was loud, raucous and...loud. Then they left the stage to the sound of feedback and the pyrotechnic flashes of the stagelights illuminated off the Forum's colums and staues...very atmospheric.

Leaving the Forum, I saw a group of people waiting around the backstage door. One of them was a woman holding a massive plush green frog toy, which was really funny. I have no idea what they would have done with that!

All in all, an awesome night...although I was annoyed by the fact that people stopped dancing and moshing during the new songs, and only hung out for the old...But that'll no doubt change on Monday when the album comes out!


 

Report and photos by CRYSTAL

How can one possibly put words to describe a silverchair concert?! It's too difficult! The first words that come to mind when I think about my second time around to see the 'chair are inspiring, exhilarating and definitely rockin'!! I'm sure fans and critics alike will agree with me on silverchair's unbelievable performance on March 6th in Melbourne, as well as all of their performances included in their Neon Ballroom World Tour 1999.

BEFORE

Firstly, it was an incredible sight just driving past the venue to see a queue of eager silverchair fans congesting the left lane of busy Flinder's Street. As you can see from the photo taken of me in front of the Forum, silverchair fans were packed in the line (and road!) hours before the doors were to open. This is what you call dedication! But our dedication was soon rewarded when a smiling and waving Ben Gillies drove past in the back of a navy Tarago!

When we were let in around 8pm I got to take in my first sight of the Forum. Adorned with elaborate sculptures and pillars, I felt as if I was being transported back to the Renaissance era when I walked into the main theater. Let me just congratulate silverchair's management for choosing such a fitting venue! The Forum made silverchair's last performance at the Festival Hall venue look quite shabby!

My friend and I perched ourselves on a comfy booth right behind the mosh pit with perhaps one of the best views of the stage and mosh pit. We grooved to silverchair's support band Something For Kate who I felt have grown a great deal musically since I last saw them supporting silverchair in 1997.

As soon as Something For Kate left the stage my friend and I darted into the mosh pit to try and weave our way through to the front to have a closer view of silverchair's performance.

Unfortunately we got to the third row in the mosh and we realized these avid fans weren't going to give us an inch (which is fair enough!). I left my friend to survive the mosh pit and returned to my booth seat where I could breathe a bit better! If you've ever experienced the almighty mosh pit at a silverchair concert, I'm sure you know how I felt!

Anyway, it seemed like an eternity went by before I heard the words I had been waiting to hear all night. Robert DeNiro's famous line, "Are you Talkin' to me?" blared rhythmically from the speakers, the cue that silverchair was fixing to grace the presence of its incredibly pumped crowd.

DURING

The concert itself is a blur to me, but I will try and write what I can remember. The boys (or should I say men), Chris, Daniel, Ben and keyboardist newcomer Sam, quickly moved on to the neon lit stage, giving us fans little time to react! Daniel was kind enough, however, to alert us to the fact that they were "silverchair from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia."

I was delighted to hear silverchair hit the first few notes of the highly publicized Emotion Sickness. At this point in time, silverchair's Neon Ballroom was due to be released in 2 days time in Australia, so many of their songs from the album were still new to the audience. But looking around the crowd it was obvious that everyone was impressed by silverchair's 'new stuff.' I know I was!

Soon to follow was the angst driven Israel's Son that sent the mosh pit (as well as bystanders) into a frenzy. Next up was Abuse Me and Slave which made me appreciate the way in which silverchair had merged their 3 albums into one impressive set list. I'm sure the band members also appreciated the fact that they had more songs to choose from to play on this tour.

Ana's Song (Open Fire) followed Slave, much to my pleasure. I had heard a brief sound clip of Ana's Song on the internet prior to the concert and knew at that point that it would go down as being one of my favorite 'chair songs. I was one of the only people who knew the words to Ana's Song so I was getting some weird looks as I sung it by myself at the top of my lungs (my apologies to those who had to put up with my singing!)!

I began to wonder if silverchair had picked all of my favorite songs as they broke into Suicidal Dream. With Daniel in particular adding an extra dose of emotion, this song really rocked. Perhaps I should mention the awesome light show at this point in my review! The hardworking light technicians at work behind me did a fantastic job of enhancing silverchair's performance. It seems they knew the perfect light "formula" for every song. I especially enjoyed the lighting during Paint Pastel Princess (see picture with flower lights).

Yet again, silverchair did an effective jump from a relatively mellow song to one of their heavier songs. In this case it was the jump from Paint Pastel Princess to Madman. I could tell the band really enjoyed playing this song as Daniel and Chris shifted all over the stage area.

After the adrenaline rush of Madman, Daniel announced that it was time for a "toilet and drink break" for the audience as the band were fixing to play their "softer" songs. I think Daniel was selling the band short as I didn't see one person move an inch from their position. We were all too "hooked" to even consider relieving ourselves!

So the "softer" songs, oldie Tomorrow (a solo version by Daniel) and newie Miss You Love, were played with the crowd loving every minute of it. After our "toilet and drink break" (yeah right!) the 'chair blasted out The Door. I definitely agree with those who say that The Door is one of silverchair's best songs played live. You could just feel the crowd swell as the opening riff was played. Just when the crowd thought it couldn't get any better, silverchair proceeded to burst into the mosh worthy Pure Massacre and Freak.

Anthem for the Year 2000 was probably the most anticipated song of the night. As soon as Sam's keyboard began beeping out the familiar sirens, we all knew what was in store for us. Daniel increased the crowd's participation even more when he got us to sing the opening line, "We are the youth" in unison. This is another great thing about silverchair's lead singer. He does a great job of uniting and involving his audiences; and involved we were! The crowd sang with such a force that it sounded as though every person in the room was singing as loud as they possibly could. But with the completion of Anthem, silverchair abruptly left the stage leaving the crowd satisfied - but not satisfied enough, of course!

The familiar chanting of 'we want more' erupted and the stomping of feet soon followed. After the short break, silverchair strode to their instruments and began the punkish Satin Sheets, finishing with the song referred to as 'the shredder,' Spawn Again.

AFTER

Shortly after silverchair left the stage and their adoring fans, I was looking around and spotted a piece of paper lying on the sound equipment. I managed to convince one of the sound/light technicians that it was important that I get whatever piece of paper it was, and one of them handed it over after much begging on my part. The piece of paper turned out to be silverchair's set list. Needless to say I was ecstatic to get my hands on this for a number of reasons and I plan on framing it in the near future (only joking!).

Anyway, I hope I've given you some insight into silverchair's March 6th concert, but I apologize if I've rambled on. I think I've spent more time pouring over this report then I've spent on homework this term. Anyway, I would just like to end this by saying a HUGE thank you to those 'chairheads that rocked alongside me and especially silverchair and co. for stopping by Melbourne! Come back soon guys!


 

By CARLY SPITHILL

I just thought I'd write to you guys to share with everyone my experience from last night's silverchair concert at the forum in Melbourne. This was my seventh silverchair gig and THE best I have ever seen them play. I arrived at the forum at about 2 pm as I wanted to make sure that I heard the soundcheck etc. I also had to catch up with silverchair fans that I know from around Australia who had come down for the gig. So for about five hours I sat around talking to people and exchanging silverchair experiences with everyone. Then before I knew it Daniel, Chris and Ben arrived. I managed to take a few pictures of them as they wailed in, but it was a split second thing, that I can't even remember happening!

So now it was the soundcheck and a 3-hour wait until the doors opened. Finally we got inside and already I was getting really annoyed with all the teenies. The average age was around 14, I felt really, really old because I'm 18 but it gave me an advantage because I could see over all their heads! When I got my spot in the mosh secured I had a look around me, as I had never been in the forum before but had heard how beautiful it was inside. It was like a fairytale. The ceiling looked like a starlit night and the walls and stage looked like something out of a Shakespeare play! It really set the mood for silverchair- with the whole concept behind "Neon Ballroom" being expressed.

Something for Kate was on first. I really liked this Aussie band but it seemed as though nobody liked them at all. The stupid teenies at the front kept yelling at Paul to get off stage and "can we have your backstage pass?" he just told them "NO" in an abrupt voice. I think they finished their set a little early because the crowd was being so difficult. I think that it was so rude of everyone to act like that and I would have like to see them play their full set.

So now the silverchair roadies are setting up the stage for silverchair to come on and suddenly I am getting more and more squashed! At this point I didn't mind because I wanted to be as close as I could to the front so that I could see the whole show properly. About 25 minutes later, the stage was glowing with neon lights and the opening music was getting louder. It's at this stage that every true silverchair fan experiences an overwhelming sense of happiness because they know that silverchair are about to walk on stage and play an unforgettable show. The lights dropped and then one by one they walked on. The crowd screamed and at the same time lurched forward. I couldn't breath but i didn't want to move. "Emotion Sickness" started off the set and surprisingly a few people knew the words. It's true what Daniel says about this song being the essence of "Neon Ballroom" because it is one of the most powerful and emotive songs I have ever heard and it's killer live!

I'm trying to remember the setlist in order...I think abuse me was next, one of my all time favourite songs and it's now accompanied by a keyboard part thanks to Sam Holloway. Then came either Paint Pastel Princess or Ana's Song. I noticed before each song and during parts of some songs Daniel was saying things to himself, it was something like "I can do this, I can do this." He looked a bit sad when he was about to start "Ana's Song"; probably due to the Australian newspapers having a field day over Daniel admitting to having an eating disorder. Whether it's true or not, I think it's none of their business and that press releases like that would only make matters worse.

Anyway, enough of that for now...the rest of the set was a mixture of old tunes and new tunes. Israel's' Son, Slave and Freak were all played a little slower than usual but sounded much better. I also noticed that Daniel's guitar is sounding heavier and rawer than I've heard in previous gigs- whatever he's doing tell him to keep doing it because it's working REALLY well now. A big highlight of the show was Daniel's version of "Tomorrow" played solo. Even though Cemetery is my favourite song off Freak Show, this rare version of "Tomorrow" was haunting. Daniel played it with a lot of emotion and he even changed it a little bit. The crowd loved it and he got a huge applause afterwards.

Daniel didn't really talk much to the crowd. The most he said was "hi were silverchair from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia" and something about "save a tree, eat a beaver," he tried to explain that joke but stopped, it was pretty funny. Daniel also started getting pretty pumped to play "The Door" and told everyone to "...get up and fucking jump," that song totally rocked. The end of the show was near and everyone was really getting into all the new songs. Then "Anthem for the Year 2000" started. I reckon about 500 people jumped up out of their seats and ran down to be a part of the action. Daniel started saying "we are the youth" repeatedly until the crowd caught on. Everyone was chanting "we are the youth, we are the youth," it was really powerful! That was a really good version of Anthem too.

I think that was when silverchair left the stage. Of course we all yelled "we want more" but it wasn't until we all started stamping our feet on the ground that silverchair took notice, and then they came out one by one again. I thought they would have played "Lie to Me" but to my surprise they played "satin sheets" one of the best songs off the new album. It was so good live and everyone seemed a little surprised at this new punk/rock tune. "Spawn again" closed the show with Daniel singing like I've never heard him before. The song ended and Daniel played around with the effects pedals for a bit and then slowly walked off stage. That was it. Another silverchair experience to burn to memory and that wasn't even the end of it...

Two friends of mine had contacts with silverchair's management and so they got a pass to the "after party" which was being held upstairs. After I asked to go in with them for about 20 minutes! They had to go because the forum was being shut off from the public. So I'm standing at the bottom of the staircase waiting for my friends to come out of the concert, when Ben Gillies walks past me. I called out Ben and he turned around. I told him played a really good show and he said thanks. Then I asked to be let up to the after party and he said he couldn't let anyone up and apologised. Someone was telling him he had to go but I asked him to sign my CD cover for me, so he came down the stairs and signed it. Then he just said sorry I've gotta go and left! I thought it was pretty decent of him to sign my CD. I was stoked and left the concert on a high. Then it was the long trip home. Finally I was home and in bed. My ears were ringing, I was covered in sweat and I looked like absolute crap! But hey, it was worth it.

That show is going down as one as the greatest I have ever seen.