AUSTRALIA 2002

2002-03-01, Melbourne - 9th Ward

Wow, what a busy couple of days. It was a very long flight from the UK, made longer by a faulty undercarriage discovered when attempting to take off from Dubai. The plane fish-tailed on the runway and the pilot had to pull an emergency stop! He taxied the 747 back to the bay and they fixed it by disabling a safety device! "Don't worry, it won't affect us in the air" said the captain.

We were met by Nikki at Melbourne airport at around 2:30 in the morning, we were exhausted but very excited to be in Oz, especially Rich as it's his first time over here.

We met up with Danny (Bass player) and Iain (Drummer) the next day to form yet another version of the Abdou line up. We practiced over the next couple of days, intertwined with visiting the Grand Prix circuit and watching a few races (another first for Rich).

We arrived at the 9th Ward whilst a band was still playing from the early evening session. They were a kind of live dancy type band who were pretty interesting but got on my nerves after a while as I'm not a big fan of long synth solos.

True to usual Aussie form, there was no sound check and we sat down, started drinking and watching the excellent Bidston Moss (we played with them before in sydney, it was good to see them again).

It was soon our turn to strut our jet-lagged stuff. We cobbled together a set list of old and new which sounded pretty good, we debutted You Turned Me Over which comes out very well as a live track.

I must say, it wasn't the best gig ever, but there was a good crowd and they seemed to enjoy it. Must make mental note to have a week in Oz before playing to make sure that I'm not jet-lagged, I was in a kind of haze for the whole gig.

After a 45 min set we got off-stage to allow P76 on, and they entertained with a Teenage Fanclub influenced set of very fine songs.

After the gig we all headed off to a pub near Danny's place. Rich had to be taken home in a taxi though as he was feeling a little queezy through lack of sleep and a wobbly tummy.

I can't remember the rest of the night as per usual, apart from chatting to some very lovely people in the pub.



2002-03-02, Melbourne - Espy

We're back at the Espy and back in the front bar to play another chaotic gig. for those of you not initiated there are two parts of the Esplanade Hotel, the Gershwin Rooms and the Front Bar. The front bar is a free gig and can be most chaotic. Tonight is no exception! From the minute we arrive it is an organisational nightmare. Getting things into the venue and on the stage involves having a dodge and dance with several burly pool players. Setting up for the gig was made very difficult by the fact that it's a tiny stage and i couldn't see what I was doing ;-)

But hey, I'm definitely not complaining the Espy is such a great gig, steeped in rock n' roll and you are always guaranteed a good crowd. This weekend being Grand Prix weekend made it fuller than I have ever seen it before.

I deceded on a different tack for the setlist tonight, tightening the whole thing up. It was going very smoothly and rockin hard when i broke a string D'oh! Not having a spare guitar, had to put on another string whilst mega salesman Danny entertained the crowd with his patter.

Can't remember the setlist at the moment but I have it written down somewhere and I'll include it later on. The best songs tonight were Loser's Walk and You Turned Me Over (that song just get's better and better, I love to play it). Iain, rich and danny all played their hearts out and the crowd really seemed to love it. I'm still a little jet lagged but I'm leaving the land hazy sleepiness and will be fully ship-shape before long.

After the show there was a big queue for t-shirts and CDs, which was nice. We got very very drunk and watched the headline band Warped, they were very rockin' I must say, enjoyed them a lot! Hung around with Marius, Rosie and family, got more drunk, fell over ;-)

The next day was the Grand Prix which was totally acetastic. I managed to lose my bag over the next few days, left it at a tram stop after another drinking seesion in Fitzroy. The next day I had to visit the local cop shop to retrieve it, some knd soul had handed it in, lucky really as it contained my passport!

We have had other adventures including witnessing our tram crashing into a car, which was almost as spectacular as the big crash at the GP. Luckily no one was hurt, but the girl (funny enough, a nurse) was pretty shaken up so we stayed with her until a friend turned up and took her off.

Had a good practice session on Wednesday, worked out a great version of Air Odeon Disco Pub. Saturday's gig is looking to be a good one.



2002-03-09, Melbourne - Tote

Since my first time in Melbourne back in '93 I have had an ambition to play The Tote. I have seen a few gigs there and have always thought it was a great rock n roll gig.

Tonight I get the chance to realise that ambition.

After eating a delicious Vietnamese meal on Victoria St we went over to Brunswick St a quick coffee before heading over to the venue. At the venue we met up with my old mate Lauren and several other Abdoujaparoz regulars.

We missed the first band The Resheads which is a shame as everyone was saying that they were really good.

The second band on had us all in stiches appearing from behind curtains in the most ridiculous get-up to be seen onstage since Mott The Hoople trod the boards in '73. The Accidents are a rock covers band with tongues firmly in cheeks, bums and every other available orifice. They playeed Quo, Lizzy, Motorhead, Kiss and all of the greats, they rocked and were as funny as hell. If you get the chance, go and see 'em.

How the hell could we follow that you may ask?

To be honest, I don't know how, but we did follow it very well indeed. I guess that Abdou could rate as a comedy band sometimes too, but tonight, all of the ingredients were there, we rocked and went down a storm with both the Abdou faithfull and the local Tote crowd. Our soundman Mark did a brilliant job, it was the best sound we have had for ages.

We gave Air Odeon Disco Pub it's debut and it sounded great I reckon. No favourite song for tonight they were all great, including a hastily coobeled together encore of Queen Bitch.

Danny broke a string at the end of the set which is always a good sign, it was one of those big fat bass strings too.

After the gig we formed a mutual appreciation society with the guys from the Accidents. We were going to go on to a club, but the Tote juke box was rocking out some killer tunes so we decided to stay until closing.

We eventually rolled home at 4am happy with a job well done.

Setlist:

Air Odeon Disco Pub
Abdou Theme
Punk Confetti
Murder On Dalberg Rd
Fish Face
Baby Food
Monster In My Garden
Loser's Walk
Shut Up
Maria's Umbrella
You Turned Me Over
Emergency Medical Hologram
Innocent Like Vincent

Queen Bitch



2002-03-14, Sydney - The Annandale Hotel

After a reasonably pleasant drive to Sydney, only stopping for a huge Marino, strong coffees and sarnies. After dropping off Danny and Iain in Surrey Hills, Rich and I headed to Randwick where my friends Sarah and Arun live. They are kindly putting up the Pom part of Abdou for the duration of our stay in Sydney. We arrived in time to catch a few Schooners (like pints but smaller) and to get ourselves settled for the night in preparation for a big day of sightseeing planned for the next day.The next day we visited just about every touristic sight in Sydney, it's Richard's first time and as we don't have much time here, we had to pack it in.

So it was Bondi Beach, Watson's Bay, Circular Quay and the Opera House, followed by the Botanical Gardens, a feww pubs in Kings Coss and then more in Glebe. We also had time to have luch with Rich's Dad (Richard) and his mate Richard who were over on holiday and see us play. We also hooked up with fellow Pom Emma Ruby who joined us in our explorations.

The next day is the gig day so there were a few things to sort out, including getting hold of a couple of guitar amps for the show. Rich went off to Bondi Beach for a spot of body boarding with his Dad. He came back with a healthy radiation glow due to only using factor 4 suncream, silly boy, I told him it's not like Sarfend!

We managed to hire a couple of amps for the night and turned up nice and early at The Annandale Hotel, tonight's venue. Grabbed some Fish n' Chips from the Nosh Pit restaurant next door before settling down to watch Pants who were the first band on. I also had to sort out t-shirts and stuff with my mate Chris, who has offered to do the merch for this gig.

Pants were pretty good, very harmonic in a US college band type way, I didn't really watch them properly though as I was rushing around sorting out setlists and stuff.

Before we knew it, it was time for us to get our shit on the stage. There we had a small problem as we were expecting to be able to borrow a speaker box from the guitar player from Pants. For his own reasons, he wouldn't have it and refused to let us use his box. so we had a bit of a panic and eventually the nice guys from the headline band, Wizard lent us a nice peavey quadbox which did the trick perfectly.

It took a while to get ourselves in order and went on a bit late, once gain starting with my new fave Air Odeon Disco . Danny changed his strings during the day and for the first few songs he suffered from nasty tuning problems. Eventually though the Abdou machine was running likie clockwork and we played a great gig. The only complaint we got tonight was that we played far to short a set, so sorry about that it was out of our control I'm afraid.

After the most sweaty of gigs we dripped off stage and watched Wizard set up. Chris, our merch man, did a fab job and we did more than $300 worth of shirts and CDs, so well done my son.

Wizard were great, i can imagine them on a huge stage at a festival driving the crowd wild. If I have any complaints i'd say that they were a bit loud for the Annandale. they put on a grand show mind and are a lovely bunch of blokes.

Hung around with me mates after the gig, bought the whole pub a beer and eventually we all got thrown out and had to go home.

I had a good night, so I give big thanks to Sydney, you are really growing on me.



2002-03-15, Gold Coast - Trocadero

Got up dead early, which was a bit of a struggle, but we have a big drive today, we have to be in Surfer's Paradise by 6pm and it bloody miles away.

It took us a round 12 hours to get to the Trocadero, which is a glitzy nightclub in the centre of the most tacky town I have ever seen. I reckon Vegas might be tackier but I have never been there so I can't tell. Imagine Ibiza and benidorm rolled into one and you'll get a rough idea. we went out for a coffee and it was very scary.

The best thing about tonight is that we saw Abdoujaparov up in lights in true Broadway style (there are pics which I'll put up later)

First up was Lancaster, our mates from Brisbane, who played a great set with big faves from the past and some raunchy new numbers that made me want to hear their new album (unfortunately it's not finished yet, so we're gonna have to wait)

Next up were Arbuckle who were cutely shambolic and very good I thought. There were some great songs in there,great stuff!

Daisycutter were up next and promiseed much with their radio friendly power pop. I don't know whether it was because I was exhaus