USQ University Oval - Toowoomba, Australia


It started with a phone call and ended with a slowly drawn, nicely spun cone.  The phone call went a little something like this...

(Jen) Hello?

(Dugga) Hey Jen, Dugald here.

(Jen) Hey Dugga, what’s up?

(Dugga) I was just wondering, Pip's off to the ''Chair'' gig in Toowoomba this Sunday and...

(Jen) Yeah I know, nobody is able to go with her, she asked me the other day but I'm strapped...

(Dugga) Well yeah, she told me but I was just thinking, what if I shouted you a ticket and perhaps?

(Jen) Yep, done!  I even volunteer to be sober driver.

(Dugga) Cool, I'll get on the net now...just at work, oh shit!

(Jen) What?

(Dugga) Cant get into the Ticketek site, shit, must be down.  Look, I will try and get on and then I'll give you a call and confirm.

(Jen) Excellent, you rock Dugga!

(Dugga) No, my pleasure, wasn't keen on her going alone so I appreciate it.

(Jen) Yeah, trust me, it's my pleasure (laughs)

(Dugga) OK, call you soon.

(Jen) Peace Dugga.

Excellent, what a great start to the day.  Love Silverchair.  My thoughts stayed with me as I got out of bed to inspect what needed to be done around the place.  Housework, joy.

As I started doing the usual stuff, putting on washing, looking at the sink with disdain as I surveyed the washing up that needed to be done 'fuck it, it can wait till last'. Daydreaming.  Been thinking lately about how much Danni-Elle, my 14-year-old daughter, has been hinting at me that she is keen to go to a 'proper' gig.  She has seen a lot of really good local stuff, a lot of heavy stuff, some great funk and hip-hop, but never a big gig.  I can see the look of desperation in her eyes when I'm off to review something for Tsunami Mag, the street-press I've been a contributor with for the past 4 or 5 years.  She has been backstage at COG, seen Resin Dog's play live, been front and center horns held high for Tourettes but yet still no major act.  Prime opportunity had reared it's head in the form of Silverchair/Powderfinger gig in Toowoomba, I knew for sure I could get her up the front past the locals and into the perfect area for best live gig impact, too easy, I'm a professional and so is Pip.  We had recently seen Silverchair at the Tivoli in April and we were directly in front of Daniel, it was my first time, a treasured memory.  Pip is a consummate professional in this arena though, she has been to more Aussie Silverchair gigs than most, to say she is a fan is almost an insult in the fact that it's a true understatement.  

I made the decision to make this a road trip, something Danni-Elle would never forget.  I had Danni-Elle 1 month after turning 19 and it had always been my goal to not only be the best mum I could be and to give her a better life than I had, I also wanted to be a cool mum, and to make her a cool human being.  This is why I try my best to always share my love of music with her as well as educating her along the way as to the importance of the message and the musicianship.  Now I was starting to get more than a little excited.  This was a way of giving my daughter a memory she would never forget, while exposing her to the beauty of a live performance being performed by artists that can always be relied upon to give a sublime live entertainment experience. Before lunchtime the tickets had been purchased, arrangements had been made and I was very much looking forward to picking Danni-Elle up from school so I could let her know about the big surprise.  Her, Pip and I off on a road trip to Toowoomba on Sunday to see Silverchair live.  She was stoked when I told her, it was a Tuesday and we had a bit of your typical 'mother/daughter' argument that morning on the way to school.  Things were a bit crap at home, my boyfriend and I were not on good terms and depression was lurking in all the nooks and crannies.  I could no longer find my inspiration or drive.  We both needed some magic, some joy within the momentum of the every-day do dah.  Thanks to Dugga and Pip, we got it!

My thoughts floated back to my first introduction to Silverchair.  I had liked them since they first hit the Aussie scene back in the early 90's, the 'grunge' era.  My niece Renai, who is 7 years younger than me was the one responsible, she was about 13 years old at the time.  I had just turned 20, single mum, baby girl, Danni-Elle, less than 1 year old.  Renai used to turn into an absolute basket case when the Chair was on Rage in the mornings over the weekend.  She would cry like she was at a frigging funeral.  

(Jen) What the fuck is wrong with you Renai?

Renai stops crying and looks at me, face red raw, tears streaming down her face.

(Renai) He's just so beautiful aunty Jen.  Look at him.

I look at the television...''yooooooouuuuuu wait till tomorrow”.... whines the cute, longhaired blond kid from the screen.  

(Jen) Yeah Renai, he's very cute, in fact he is gorgeous, but is that a reason to be crying like someone bloody died?

Renai, looks up at me again, tears dribbling off her cheeks.

(Renai) I can't help it, I love him aunty Jen.

Jebus!  ‘Clearly her female hormones are kicking in’ - that was my way of rationalizing her behavior at the time.  A few months after that she went up to Karanda amputheatre to her first gig.  She gets up the front to see Daniel Johns in the hopes that he will spot her, fall instantly in love, pluck her from the crowd and take her away so they could live happily ever after.  What happened was she got squished into the front barricade, or pit as it's called, freaks out, looses her breath, passes out, gets flicked into said pit, and has to be rescued by first aid officers.  Of course by the time she was OK again half the gig was over and there was no chance of getting back up the front. Poor Nay-Nay.  She's still a fan.

Sunday came and began with a bit of a sleep-in.  Sunday's are important for that.  Danni-Elle had a bit of homework to finish prior to us leaving.  We got to Pip's later than intended; she had already cracked her first lite beer for the day.  Pip had never been out to Toowoomba before and I was driving so we were completely sorted in that respect.  I hadn't eaten yet that day either and by now it was about 1.30pm so we stopped to pick up a bit of food to line the tummy.  We were straight back on the road once we had food and I was dying for my post eating ciggie. I mentioned this to Pip as we were driving along.

(Pip) Wouldn’t that be considered cruelty to Danimals?

I nearly pissed myself laughing, Pip was always handy for a good one liner.  We thought we were actually running a bit behind schedule, as our intention was to get there early enough to get a good spot in line so to ensure front row positions. We drove out of Brisbane on the western freeway turning at the Toowoomba exit knowing we had about an hour and a half drive in front of us.  We had decided to take Dugga's little spare car, circa ‘89’, with the theory that it had heaps of fuel in it, air-con and a working stereo.  Problem was, Dugga had lent it to a friend a few weeks back and the redback spider knob on the gearstick was stolen (very un-Australian) and the little talking Stewie doll on the dash had a weird mark right in the middle of his forehead.  All this with the added bonus of no power steering, good workout for the arms though I noted.  We were all in pretty high spirits because of the excitement of the gig, Stewie was being hit randomly so that he splirted his two cents here in there amongst our conversation....’’what the deuce are you staring at?''...Pip and I had been catching up as we hadn't had a chance to speak properly with each other in a while.  Pip had some personal crap going on in her life and I was having shit in my personal life as well, it was good to clear the air, good to know we were there for each other.  Danni-Elle was sitting in the back half listening to us half daydreaming and dealing with her own stuff going on in her very intense 14 year old life.  We all needed this day, we needed to laugh, we needed to forget everything and just have some freaking life.  We had just driven through the arse end of Ipswich.

(Pip) Keep your eye out for a servo; my dicky liver has kicked into gear.

(Dan) What the?

(Jen) She needs to pee Dan ya dufashead.  

(Pip) Probably has something to do with the 2 beers I just nailed.

We drive a little further and continue our chat.  

(Stewie) ‘‘Stop mocking me!''.

(Pip) Is that a servo?

(Jen) Yep, Caltex though, there is a BP up a little further, it will be cleaner...

(Dan) Cool, I need to go too

We pull into the service station which has a number of cars already lined up pumping dollar upon dollar into their fuel munching machines.  

(Jen) OK, you guy's go in and I will do the fuel thing

As Pip and Dan walk into the service station I take a quick mouthful of the lite beer Pip has just opened to rinse the taste of the ciggie I had just finished out of my mouth.  I get out of the car, my flat metal gig boots hitting the pavement with decisive intent.  I am dressed a la gig.  Boots, opaque black tights, black mini dress, my favorite purple jewelry and a mass of unruly long curly hair scrunched back off my face with a black hair tie for driving purposes.  Big sunnies hide the silver eye shadow I had randomly applied earlier that day in an attempt to get into the theme of the gig.  I had joked that it would be cool to have silver wigs so we could have ‘silver hair at Silverchair’, once I had discovered I was having a bad hair day and just thought 'stuff it, I'm leaving it, what will be will be', isn't it always the way?  

I notice I am getting a few sideways looks so I discreetly tug my dress down a little further over my ass and begin pumping fuel into the little white laser.  I can feel eyes sussing me out as I feign confidence and strut into the service station to pay for the fuel.  I walk toward the counter hoping I can pay and get out of there as quickly as possible but the couple in front of me are taking their time.  The female component of the couple gives me one of those discrete but disapproving up and down looks and for a moment I feel myself flush.  I continue to look around at the rest of the people in the general vicinity praying for my turn to pay to arrive.  I hand over the money quickly, get my change and make a beeline for the comfort of the little white laser.  Taking another sip of the lite stubby I watch the doors of the service station waiting for Pip and Dan to emerge from the Sunday driving family filled store.  Pip is walking towards the car with her head down; she opens the door fumbling for the handle..

(Pip) I think I just broke the toilet dude.

I turn the key to start the car figuring that Dan would be out in a moment.

(Jen) Huh, why, what happened?

The car starts; I look in the rear vision mirror to check out if there was a car behind me.  I can't believe my eyes, what the hell was in that beer?  I blink and look again; the vision is still there.  Daniel Johns, Paul Mac, Chris and Ben all walking leisurely toward the back of the little white laser.

(Jen) Pip, get out of the car NOW!

(Pip) What?

(Jen) Silverchair are walking toward us right now, GET OUT OF THE CAR!

Pip quickly looks around to see if I'm telling the truth.

(Pip) Oh shit

She quickly checks her boobs are sitting right, pulls her sunnies down and jumps out of the car.  I immediately follow getting out of the car just as the boys are about to walk past us.

(Jen) Hey!

(Daniel, Chris and Ben) Hey...

(Jen) We are coming to see you guys tonight.

(one of the guys) Cool..

I can't think of one intelligent thing to say, I simply don't know what to do!  Pip dives into the glove box and grabs her LAS photo and a nicko pen.  She then pulls up Chris and gets him to sign the pic on the bonnet of the laser.  Instantly increasing it’s value to at least $1200.  I sit in the car just watching, freaking out.  I never usually get like this anymore, I can't believe the adrenaline pumping through my body, I am physically shaking. I pull the hair tie out of my hair and give it a quick rock chick ruffle, what a mess!  I had noticed Paul Mac had looked pretty cheerful, he usually does though, he is a very nice guy.  I had the opportunity to interview him for Tsunami a couple of years ago and it was truly a very pleasant experience.  Meanwhile, Pip had managed to go back inside and get the autographs from the rest of the band including Paul, I am still sitting in the car like a freak, all I can do is continue to sip on Pip's beer, my butt glued to the drivers seat.  Soon Pip jumps back in the car.

(Pip) I got em, got all of them.

I notice Danni-Elle walking towards us, she took her sweet time in the toilet and had no idea what or who she had just walked past in the service station.  She gets to the car.

(Jen) Dan, go back in there and pretend to buy me a water, Silverchair are in there dude.

(Dan) Yeah, sure mum, you just want me to get you some water.

(Jen) No Dan, I don't care about the frigging water I care about you getting a chance to meet Silverchair so quick, go in there.

(Pip)  True dude!

Dan still doesn't believe us but she walks inside slowly regardless.  After a few moments she comes back out, dimples popping like no tomorrow.

(Dan) OH – MY – GAWD!  Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god...

(Jen) Yeah, that’s all I can say too

(Pip) Look Dan, here is a bit of paper and a pen, go and get their autographs.

(Dan) No….I, I can’t…I can’t do it.

(Pip) Yes you can, you will regret it later if you don’t.

(Dan) Ohhhhh…..I can’t, I can’t do it.

(Jen) C’mon Dan, you’ll be right.

(Dan, in angst)  I just…..dagnammit, I can’t, I know I will regret it later but I just can’t do it.

(Pip) Dude!

The boys come out of the servo and start heading back towards their van, I had noticed earlier when I looked at Daniel that he gave a definite vibe of not wanting to be approached.  I fully get that so I decided I wasn't going to play fanboy and make too much of a dick out of myself, I managed to do so anyway..

(Jen, holds horns out of window and shouts) Go the mighty Silverchair!

What the fuck was that!?!  Immediately I feel like a toss, in front of Danni-Elle too, what a knob head.  I felt I had to do or say something, I couldn't just leave it like that, and all that came out of my mouth was 'Go the mighty Silverchair'.  Oh the shame. Oh the bogan-ness. At least it was a lesson for Danni-Elle in what not to do *sigh*.  I gun the engine and drive out of the servo onto the road towards Toowoomba.

(Pip) Did that really happen?

(Dan) Oh my god, oh my god, oh my gaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwdddddd!

(Jen) Shit man, do you realize that everything that has happened so far today led up to that exact point in time where that actually did happen.  I cant believe I said that man, what a looser, did I really say that, was that as lame as I think it was?

(Pip and Dan) Yeah, dude, it was.

(Jen) Oh crap!

I think about the point in the car when Pip and I both held up our hands and we were both shaking like a leaf.

(Jen) That sucks.  I couldn't think of one thing to say, I didn't know what to do.............arggggggghhhhhhh!

(Pip) Me too man, at least I got the autographs though and I busted Ben at the girly mags in the servo, he actually said ''Oh, you busted me at the girly mags'', Chris then walked up to both and said ''It's cool, your only human man''.  He's a true gentleman our Chris.

(Jen) You should have offered to show him some real ones!

(Dan) Mum!

(Jen) Oh well, should just thank the universe for what did happen.  I'll never forget looking into that rear vision mirror.  Shit Pip, you have your camera with you too; we could have got photo's (slaps forehead) what a bunch of idiots, why didn't I think of that?  I could have captured that moment for Danni-Elle forever.

(Dan) Can we turn around?

(Pip) No, that would be lame dude.

(Jen) What if we drive slow and wait for them to catch up?

(Pip) Then what?

(Jen) I dunno, maybe you can flash them?

(Dan) Mum!

(Stewie) Put me through to the Pentagon!

(Jen) I'm going to drive under the limit anyway, maybe they will catch up, and then we will decide what to do, OK?

(Pip) OK

We continue heading towards Toowoomba with about another hour of driving ahead of us.  The three of us are all hyped up on adrenaline from our chance run in with the boys.  We giggle, laugh and continue to talk about our meeting for the next 45 mins or so, often looking behind for the white van we know they are traveling in.  Danni-Elle shares with us the fact that she can't believe how tall or how hot Daniel is.

(Dan)  Those arms mum.

(Jen) Yeah, I know Dan.

Truly a bonding experience.  Along the way there is a lizard about a foot and a half long chilling out right in the middle of the road, everybody is swerving around it to accommodate his afternoon of sun baking. We are beginning to get close to the ranges we have to drive up into to get to Toowoomba.

(Dan) I can see the white van mum.

Pip has a quick look and confirms that the white van is heading towards us.  Excitement mounts and the energy in the little laser is electric.  The van is getting closer and closer.

(Jen) I'm winding my window down.

(Pip) No.  Let's just be casual, be cool.

(Jen) OK

I start laughing as Pip casually stretches her legs out and leisurely crosses her ankles on the dashboard of the car.  The white van is starting to overtake us.

(Pip) Be cool, be cool...

(Dan) Being cool (giggles)

(Jen) Can I look?

(Pip) Watch the road.

In my peripheral vision I can see the van passing my right side, it then glides neatly into the lane in front of us.

(Dan) I couldn't see anything.

(Pip) No, me neither....

(Jen) OK, we are behind them now so I am going to follow them into Toowoomba.  I'm not sure where the Uni is anywho so maybe they can guide us in.

We continue staying cool on the outside while in reality we are all overcome with excitement at the fact we were following Silverchair.  

(Jen) I wonder if any of these other drivers realize who they driving along side of...

The three of us are laughing and giggling like we are all the same age as Danni-Elle.  Stewie continues to contribute his bit to the journey ''I say, am I to spend the entire day wallowing around in my own feces.  A little service here!’’  It only added to the hilarity of the moment.  

(Jen)  You know what Pip, we should have asked if any of them wanted to catch a lift with us.

Pip has become a tad quiet, I know that she is in the process of storing every little bit of what just happened into a special place in her mind; she is letting it all soak in.  We begin traveling up the steep part of the range and the little laser is having trouble keeping up with the van.

(Pip) Drop her into second baby

(Jen) Alrighty.  C'mon little car, c'mon little car, c'mon little car....

We stay with the van all the way into Toowoomba and we begin to see shops, pubs and service stations lining the streets.  

(Dan)  Are we going to follow them all the way there?

(Jen) Dunno, we just passed a sign for the uni and it's still a bit further ahead.

Following the band through the township starts to feel a little odd as we stick with them through stoplights and lane changes.  The van indicates a left turn on a corner where there is a Liquorland store.

(Pip) Pull in here Jen, we will grab another sixer and ask for directions to the uni.

We pull into the driveway as the van continues down the road out of sight.  It is a relief to stop following them by now as the last thing on my mind was creeping out a bunch of people I actually admire.  We waited in the car while Pip went across the road for another pee stop.  While purchasing a fresh sixer the lady serving us mentioned that they had supplied the rider for the bands and crew earlier in the day, we filled her in briefly on our miraculous story, it was fun to share.  Danni-Elle sighed from the back of the car.

(Dan) You know what mum, this has already been an awesome day, I could easily be happy going home right now.  I think I love Daniel Johns.

(Jen) Yep, he has that effect on people; it's a magic that some people just happen to have in their aura.

I felt like I was on cloud nine, I knew this was turning out to be a fantastic mother/daughter experience.

Pip by this stage was heading back to the car.  We had asked the lady at the liquor store for directions and we had a pretty good idea of how to get to USQ, the campus where the gig was happening.  Funny because this was the university I had begun my study with, I had been a 'long distance' student so I had never actually been on campus, I was interested to see what it looked like.   Conversation swung between whether or not we thought Silverchair were going to stay here in Toowoomba overnight or would go back to Brisbane and if we were going to be too late to get a good position.  The university was easy to find and before long we were directed toward a parking space that required a small fee of $2.  We got directions from the parking dude as to which way we should walk and we moved steadily towards the huge white tents.  The lines were already long and it was another half hour or so until the gates opened.  Pippy suggested we try to jump the fence so we could get up front but the security was doing a good job as far as numbers go.  We grabbed our tickets from the little office/donga and proceeded to get in the shorter line.  It gave me a chance to explain to Danni-Elle that she had to go through the 18- barrier while Pip and I went through the 18+ barrier, then she would meet us on the other side.  

(Jen) Here we go, they are starting to let people in, move through that barrier as quick as you can Dan cause once we are on the other side we have to run.

People had been staring at us while we were in the line, it was pretty obvious that we were not locals, our attire screamed city freaks.  I was glad we were on the move as the gentle waft of cow shit mingled with the inhalation of fly’s was starting to seriously gross me out.  

(Pip) What the fuck is that smell dude?  Does it smell like this all of the time?  And the fucking flies, jebus!

We were close to entry point; Dan was already almost on the other side of the gates.  Pip had been pulled up for a bag check and the guy at the door was telling her she would have to throw her entire can of Rexona into the bin.

(Jen) What the hell, that’s seven bucks man.

(Gate dude)  It is considered a possible flamethrower.

(Jen) Jiminy Crickets!

(Pip) Yeah, fuckin full one too!

We finally make it to the other side of the fence, Pip and I with our red wristbands and Dan with her white one.  

(Jen) OK Dan, keep up, we are going to run.

All three of us run toward the tent, we can see the barrier in front of the stage clearly as we ran down the hill onto the flat ground where the tents were.  I couldn't believe it.  The front row was taken but the second row had only just started to fill, there was room toward the left side of the stage in the second row.  Most of the people who had already filed in had stopped to get a drink or something to eat first and had left us with ample prime gig viewing property.  Pip and I looked at each other while we were running.

(Pip) Head to the left.

(Jen) Done.

We knew from prior experience that Daniel's mike is set up more toward the left hand side of the stage rather than the center.  I was panting when we finally stopped.  We had a great spot, now we just had to hold onto it for the next hour and a half or so.  Time for Dan to get more gig education - the stand and wait.  Dan and I had water with us but Pip was keen for more beer so we held her spot while she made her way through the flies and people to the drinks tent.  Just before she took off she tapped me on the shoulder and directed my attention to the center front row.

(Pip) Can you see who's in the front row?

I nodded.  It was the same couple we were sitting with waiting at the Silverchair gig in April at the Tivoli.  They were waiting in line with us for hours.  This couple was mega fans as well; Pip was certain their names were Julie and Michael, in fact she had run into them at the ''Across The Great Divide'' gig at Brisbane Entertainment Center.  They had told Pip that they were following the band around the country; they were going to every single gig. This couple are true uber fans. I watched them for a little while contemplating how much they would have loved to have been back there at that BP servo at the same time we were.  I glanced at Danni-Elle, she was starting to look bored and was getting slightly fidgety.  The tent was steadily starting to fill with punters and squishiness was becoming a close personal friend.  The guy standing in front of Dan was leaning on the barricade in front of him and sticking his butt up in the air, his bum crack clearly visible.  Dan looked at him and then looked away, her face understandably giving away her disgust.  Mingled in with the smell of cow shit was the smell of cow pee and someone nearby had farted in a silent but deadly manner.  So many people standing so close together, it was all very uncomfortable to say the least.  It's the price you pay though, another gig lesson for Dan.  I struck up a conversation with the girls behind me, they were both very nice and included Danni-Elle in the conversation.  The young girl in front of me was getting on my nerves as she kept turning around to look past me and talk to her friends about 4 rows further back every 2 minutes or so.   The pre gig music was some horrid 50-year-old country and western, good for the locals, not so good for me; I could feel a headache knocking on my back door asking for a cup of sugar.  Soon Pip was back.  Then before long she was gone again.  We realized she should probably go for another drink straight away cause it would be her last opportunity before the gig, the place was starting to fill up.  Finally the music changed, Gorillaz, nice.  I start trying to get my game back on again and get a little bop happening.  Danni-Elle is mortified; everything I do lately seems to embarrass her.  It's a teenage thing I suppose.  I choose to ignore her embarrassment but tone myself down a little.

After a little while Pip was back and we were locked into our positions for the evening.  We had a great view of the stage.  The techy's were doing their thing for the first act and the crowd was starting to get restless.  Soon an old aboriginal man perched himself mid stage with his steel string guitar and began to talk to the crowd.  He played a few songs, communicated with the crowd in his own way, pulled out the didgeridoo to much applause and said g'day to his family in the crowd.  Kev Carmody is an elder who has been around the traps for a long, long time and clearly he holds a sturdy place in the history of the Aussie music industry.  I really enjoyed his entertainment although I could see a lot of the younger kids didn't really get it.  He closed with a favorite of mine 'from little things big things grow', the tune he is well known for writing, and the crowd sung along through the chorus.  It was a nice opener although only lasting for around 20 minutes.

(Dan) How much longer now mum?

(Jen) Some of their roadies will come out and make sure their gear is ready to go and then Silverchair will play, probably around 15-20 minutes.

We watch as the roadies do their jobs.  I notice one of the sound techs having trouble with the mike that would be the one Daniel would be using and after deliberating with a colleague he decides to swap it for another.  Daniels guitar tech, the ever present and astute gent Mr. Bailey Holloway, comes out and sets up a couple of the guitars, checks a lead, changes it and then disappears into the wings.  I find myself peering into the shadows of the wings trying to catch a glimpse of one of the band members but I can only see crew.  Soon the stage is empty and the lights are being tested.  The crowd starts a slow gentle excited mix of sound that is rising by the second.  The boys saunter out onto the stage and the lights go hard, I look at Danni-Elle and her face is awash with awe, the crowd goes stupid as Silverchair strike up the first chords for the evening and the bass pounds sound waves and vibrations through my very being.  For the next hour we were taken on a musical journey… Silverchair styles.

...Stalled at young modern station, arthritic conversation...If this streets air ain't up to par, I'll take my clothes and take this strange behavior...Stumble round making faces on the scene...Mistakes don't mean a thing if you don't regret them...She takes pictures through my lazy eyes, and I'm dreaming’ girl it's your money...But I'd sit awake in a daze anyway, I'm a maze of chains...Lets stick together, coz your keeping me warm and it's a lonely setting sun...when Ana wrecks your love...I am, I am Israel’s son, Israel’s son, I am, put your hands in the air…Such seductive silent wine hop scotch trigger........There's good will inside of me, whoooooo, whooooo, whooooooooooooooooooooo.............try to be different or get a different disease.......

During the set Daniel played guitar with his teeth, drank a blue drink that looked suspiciously like absinth and screwed around with what I can only assume is a guitar pedal that has him absolutely mesmerized.  He had played with it a shit load at the Tivoli gig as well.  He got the crowd pumping while then swigging away on stubbies of Heineken and even stopped to tell a joke about a stoned koala, a lizard and a crocodile.  At one stage Paul Mac, Ben and Chris played the girl from Impanema while Daniel quickly scooted off stage for a brief drain of the main vein.  We were singing with Daniel at the top of our lungs, punching horns and peace signs in the air in time with the marvelous combined rhythms of Chris and Ben.  Paul Mac bouncing away on his stool, Daniel encouraging the crowd to clap in time while the band covered old stuff, new stuff and everything in between.  Daniel had the crowd in the palm of his hand and there were young girls screaming their lungs out all around me.  Danni-Elle stood proudly beside her mother rocking along unable to help being swept away by the magic that is Silverchair live.  I watched the banter between Ben and Chris on stage, you can almost see the musical waves and aura's flowing through these guys, true artists to be behold.  Daniel throws himself onto his back and onto Paul Mac’s piano just as Danni-Elle takes a photo with her mobile phone and the battery runs out.

(Dan) Dammit, dammit, dammit…..

Alas, it felt like it was over before it even began. Before I knew it Daniel had hung his guitar on his rig and he, Chris, Ben and Paul Mac had left the stage.  It was like watching a family member leaving town on the last train to the big smoke.  Catch ya later boys, peace.

We pushed our way out through the crowd as quickly as possible, I was dying for a cigarette and my water had run out before the gig, I was as dry as the proverbial...Time for the old PGD (post gig depression) to start setting in.  The sun was up when we entered the tent and by now the sun had sunk into the earth and the cold country air had settled in across the field.  It was nipple snapping cold.  Pip lined up for the portaloo while my bladder closed in rebellion with the thought of even stepping into one the little blue people boxes.  Dan and I went and grabbed a drink and met Pip at a pre-determined spot on the hill.  We decided to catch a quick spot of Powderfinger and then head off back to Brisbane.  I snatched a bit of sideshow food on the way out the door and tossed most of it in the bin before I hit the pavement.  I was bewildered by a woman’s story of how an 18 year old girl had threatened to pee all over her at a gig she had been to recently, this woman was about 40 and had asked the girl to stop pushing her while in the crowd.  The young girl had retaliated like a pure demon.  I would have slapped the little cow; humans can be fucked up sometimes.  We silently made our way back to the little laser, each of us lost in thought and post gig haze.  

(Stewie) Oh mother, I'll give you a hint, it's in my diaper and it's not a toaster.

We begin the drive back to Brisbane and I can't shake the feeling of unfinished business.  The drive through Toowoomba was relatively silent as was the journey down the steep range.  Dodging semi-trailers in the dark is a hard enough task without useless babble.  I wonder to myself if Daniel had seen the lizard in the middle of the road on the way to the gig and thought how poetic it was considering his little joke during the set.  

(Pip) Did you hear him mention he was heartbroken during the set?

(Jen) Yeah, I did actually.

Just like me right now.

(Pip) I've never seen him go offstage for a piss during a gig before either.

(Jen, pondering..) He didn't look too cheerful when we saw them earlier today; maybe he is going through shit at the moment too.

More silence.  The only sound is the gentle hum of the laser.  Danni-Elle is tired but wants to stay awake so that she can look at the site of the momentous event, the BP at Ironpot Creek.  On the way home I am playing with my internal CD player, ''stay and hijack the hurt, I feel so low, I feel so hiiiiiighhh.  Take a look inside my miiiinndddd...’’ I wonder why they didn't play that tonight. We pull into Pip's driveway at around 10.30pm and we don't take long to bid farewell to each other as we are all a tad tired, it's been a long and exciting day.  I welcome the comfort of my automatic car with it's wonderful power steering.  The drive home now will take about 10-15 minutes.  I had made peace with myself on the way home and allowed myself to wallow in the memories of the day. Every time I rewound my internal videotape to replay the sight in the rear vision mirror of the little laser it brought a smile to my face.  Thank you universe, thank you very much.

(Dan) I love you mum.

(Jen) I love you too baby

(Dan) You are the best mother in the world, thank you so much for making the gig so special for me.

(Jen) I'm glad you enjoyed it baby.

As we pulled into our driveway I noted the time, it was late.  Perhaps Dan could have the day off from school tomorrow.  We made our way inside dragging with us red dust left on our shoes from the field at USQ.  

(Dan) Goodnight mum.

(Jen) Night Dan, sweet dreams, I love you.

(Dan) Love you too.

Dan crawled into her bed with her cat and directly fell fast asleep.  As I closed her bedroom door I caught a glimpse of one of her cute dimples dancing in the shadows on her face, she was going to have great dreams.  All of a sudden I felt like I was full of adrenaline again as I made my way toward my bedroom.  There was a couple of cones left for me in the bowl as a gift. I once again gave thanks to the universe and knocked them both back while saying a silent goodnight to Daniel, Chris, Ben and Paul Mac.  I sat on the bed my head swimming with thoughts. My inspiration wick had been ignited.  I knew what I had to do.  I rallied up all the residual magic and motivation from the day, picked up my laptop and began to type...

This piece is an excerpt from a novel currently in gestation.  Peace.