Showgrounds - Big Day Out - Sydney, Australia
I arrived at the Sydney Big Day Out late due to work commitments, just in time to see Hill Top Hoods take the stage. Luckily I'd only come to see Silverchair! I wouldn't have been happy if I'd missed them..
After waiting in line to get into the D barrier with the rest of the hopefuls for most of the hoods set, I decided to hang that idea and just get as close as I could. Wise decision because that line just wasn't moving and I got a great position at the front of the other side of the D barrier...
Silverchair stormed on stage in seemingly great spirits, Daniel even smacking Adam on the bottom as he walked by. Without a word, out came the Les Paul and Emotion Sickness was in full swing, bathed in beautiful aqua light.
I hadn't seen them open with this song for ages, and admittedly It was a really big contrast in styles coming off Hill Tops last song, so the general vibe of the crowd wasn't great. However it sounded awesome, the best part coming just before the first guitar solo when Daniel hit an amazing'series of notes with his vocals leading into it that just blew me away (there is a video of it on youtube, check it out..) . The rest of the song was awesome, this song is a never failing highlight..
Next up with a 'Ladies and Gentlemen,please welcome the Silverchair Orchestra' out come the much hyped brass and vocal section for a beautiful rendition of 'All Across the World'.
It sounded great, though from where I was standing it was pretty hard to clearly define the additional vocals and the brass, so can't really comment on how much those ingredients brought to mix. Unfortunately though it didn't seem like the rest of the crowd got it, and it was kind of sucky standing around a bunch of sombre faced individuals not appreciating such a great song...
I think Daniel picked up on the vibe, because there was not much of a pause between the end of AATW and 'The Greatest View'. It really rocked hard too! Like all the Diorama tracks, it sounded stunning - equal parts rock, equal parts pop but with that amazing ending vocal section, similar to what was sung on the 'Across the Great Divide' DVD. It still makes me laugh when I hear people say Daniel doesn't sing as good as he used to, because the things he pulls of now are ten times more difficult and more perfect than he did on the last diorama tour a few years back. He just gets better and better and better... Trust me, I'm a singer ;-)
But even with such an awesome rendition of the song as it was, it really felt like the band was trying to play through a sea of negativity, its hard to explain but if you were there I'm sure you'd get what I mean. It was really uncomfortable!
'Reflections of a Sound' followed soon after, which is a great song for a Silverchair solo concert, but I think lost its momentum in front of a festival. In hindsight, slotting 'Without You' with its punchy drums and rhythm probably would have kept the momentum going their way, but it wasn't to be... That said, who am I to judge? after all, its all about what feels good. And it sounded great :-)
'Insomnia' was the song that I think Silverchair realised they were fighting a losing battle with the meat head Rage fans, because Dan really seemed like he was giving it all to try and give some life to the crowd. It was almost like he was trying to take it all on his shoulders and make them listen, which if any one can do he can! However from where I was standing, it just wasn't going over well as more and more people started yelling abuse. It made me so mad!! However I'm a lover, not a fighter, so unfortunately I had to keep my mouth shut ;-) We all know what the standard BDO bogan can be like..
Next up was Ana's Song' which was simply stunning. The lighting screens transformed into stain glass windows, with a single golden spot light on Daniel for the opening section shinning down like a ray of sunshine in a dark church. Combined with Paul holding that haunting tone on the Organ the effect was magical, and definitely one of the highlights of the set. Vocally, it was absolutely mind blowing as well, with the altered choruses at the end probably my favourite parts. A really inspiring song..
'Straight Lines' and 'Mind Reader' came next, and surprisingly weren't that well received. I truly thought that if any songs were going to shut the bogans up, these two would!!
The case for 'Mind Reader' probably wasn't helped by Daniel's guitar dying just as he started to play (after reving the crowd up clapping along with Ben's kick drum). He handled it really well though, with Ben keeping the beat going whilst Bailey frantically changed leads and got things back on deck. Ever the professional...
After that came the worst point for the crowd when they started booing Paul Mac and the rest of the band leading into 'If you keep losing sleep'. I just could not believe it!! I mean, these people are supposed to be music fans?? who boos?!! I felt disgraced even to be a part of it... Paul seems like the most genuine person, and it really made me sad to see him cop abuse for doing nothing but be a great friend to Daniel and the Band. You could tell it affected him too, because Daniel literally had to get behind the piano and make him start playing the start of the song, he missed all the cues!! Poor guy... The song sounded awesome though, especially the trumpets with their distorted 'singing in the rain' melody blaring over the top of the ending sequence.. awesome!!
Finally, out came 'Freak'. Hard, heavy and solid, like a slap in the face, before you knew it was over and we were left to squeals of feedback of the Les Paul as it hung precariously off Daniel's amp. A great finish to a really tough show...
Overall, Silverchair showed true class and just what an amazing band that they can be. I was really impressed by how hard they tried, and lets face it, they sound better and better every show.
Any lesser band wouldn't have taken that crap!! That said, if that is what the Big Day Out has become, then its the last one that I will be going to, and I hope for the boys sake its the last time Silverchair play it again too!!! for a band that has such a positive energy and message to their songs these days, I know there are so many people out there just waiting to hear them! Let the Bogan's have their angry young men music, I'm much rather be happy..;-)
I was at the Sydney Big Day out 2008, I finally saw Silverchair after a series of unfortunate incidents that prevented me from seeing them in the past, which I won't bore you with.
With Arcade Fire they were the highlight of the day, playing a bunch of their best songs in about an hour (setlist, in no particular order: Emotion Sickness, Straight Lines, Ana's Song, Greatest View, If You Keep Losing Sleep, Young Modern Station, Reflections of a Sound, Freak - can't remember any others). I would have personally liked to hear a song from their first album, with a nostalgic reference of some sort to the first Sydney Big Day Out in 1995, but now matter.
A few things were peculiar, all regarding Daniel's behavior on the day, if I remember correctly (some finer details might be missing, but this was the drift):
1) Daniel saying Sydney is "sort of his home town".
2) Daniel's guitar not working and screaming to the audience "Everybody lemme hear you say: YOUR GUITAR IS FUCKED UP!" the audience: "Your guitar is fucked up", Daniel: "Yeah, I know".
3) Daniel: "Everybode lemme hear a C MAJOR", and then playing the c major chord notes. I don't think we did this very well.
4) In the middle of a solo of some sort, Daniel: "Everybody say hi to my beautiful new girlfriend" (I couldn't see where he was pointing). Cringing moment.
5) More amusing dialogue..
Daniel: "Everbody say: TOMORROW"
Daniel: "Everybody say: FREAAAK"
Daniel: "Everbody: FUCK YOU MOTHERFUKKKKAAAAH"
I think they played freak after that.
Some people found this behavior unusual. For me, these moments, together with him rolling around on the floor, piano, shirtless and bleached haired, chucking the guitar around and playing like the twisted tormented genius that he is, were the highlight of the show. The quality of the performance was of the usual high standard, and silverchair is definitely a must-see for anyone.