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The St Andrews Hotel on the brink
29.2.12 - Somebody told me about this at the Boppin' the Blues gig on Sunday, but I didn't want to believe it. The following extract from the Diamond Valley Leader appears to confirm my worst fears however.
Closure threat to St Andrews hotel
The popular St Andrews Hotel is under threat of closure after going into voluntary administration.
The Kangaroo Ground-St Andrews Rd pub was placed in the hands of Queensland-based administrator HAK Australia by an unknown financial institution last Thursday.
The live music venue has 30 days to balance its books or it will be forced to close.
HAK chief executive Ian O’Reilly said his company had been given the task of recouping an undisclosed amount of money within 30 days.
“What we would like is for former patrons to come to meet the new manager and try us out again,” he said.
Diamond Creek police confirmed they were called out to a family matter at the hotel about 3.30pm last Thursday but would not comment further.
Boppin' the Blues for Neale Johns

1) The man of the hour, Mr Neale Johns, was a very contented man 2) Bill and Bobby Bright talk to the salad bowl

3) Stephen Cummings wasn't even on the bill 4) The Trollops had a table and weren't gonna move for anybody

5) Asylum TV was there - it'll be on Channel 31 6) Wilbur Wilde and the house band play one of Joe's songs

7) The Acoustic Beatles 8) Spectrum's guest and compere for the entire day, Kenny Murdoch
gig report
Neale Johns' benefit Sun. 26.2.12 Caravan Club
Full house at The Caravan Club
28.2.12 -
The weather's cooled down a bit since the weekend and I've managed to catch up on some sleep, but both Bill and I were feeling a little sleep-deprived on Sunday. We'd decided to get to the Neale Johns' Boppin' the Blues benefit early; 'cause Bill in particular likes to catch up with old friends and we have a curious habit of leaving these sorts of functions as soon as we've done our bit. We arrived at 3.30 and so had plenty of time for catching up as our set wasn't till 6.45, but the room was already chockers - the show had been sold out quite early in the piece. I'm not sure what that tells me; is it that people are prepared to come out en masse for a good cause or if the bill's good enough, or is it perhaps simply if the weather's good?
Bill and I had turned up for a rehearsal last week with Kenny Murdoch, who pretty much single-handedly put together the entire show, and he was excited to be playing with Spectrum. He was still excited as we clambered onto the stage for our set, which was some achievement given that he'd scarcely been off the stage the whole afternoon. I had plenty of time to sort out my effects board and my borrowed Marshall while the raffles were being sorted, but I was still shocked when we finally started to play - Marshalls are just different.
Kenny played like a Spectrum veteran and was even happier when we'd finished our three numbers if that was possible. In fact, he insisted we play an encore, (I Just Wanna Make Love To You) which we dedicated to The Trollops. (pic 4)
As predicted, Bill and I mutually decided on leaving immediately we'd finished, but we weret intercepted by the Asylum crew (pic 5) on the way out and bandied a few words with Shane Laffy - there'll no doubt be some footage going to air in the near future on Channel 31. Pity I can't get it.

Denis Walter exits stage left leaving the crowd wanting more..
gig report
Myer Music Bowl Fri. 17.2.12
Denis triumphs at the Bowl
18.2.12 -
I forgot to ask if Denis Walter's band regails under any particular name, but I was a guest anyway and Denis gave me a handsome introduction before we launched into the baritone's version of I'll Be Gone. It got a great reception from the full-ish house, (Denis' daughters went to see Rod Stewart at Rod Laver), and the rest of the set went down very well too. I enjoyed Greta Bradman's singing, but we left before Il Divo took the stage. The roadie who set up my mic thought their star was on the wane..

Denis Walter as he is best known today at Radio 3AW
Mike Rudd and Denis Walter?
16.2.12 - It's one of those moments you would never seriously have dreamt of - Mike Rudd appearing (briefly) with Denis Walter tomorrow (Friday) night at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Yes, I'm accompanying him as he sings his version of I'll Be Gone, which he recorded at Pete Dacy's Secret Sound Studios last year for his Great Southern Land album. I was pleased to be able to make a contribution by adding the crucial harp lines, albeit an octave and a bit lower than the original, but quite befitting the rich bass tones Denis lends his interpretation.
If you're interested, you could have a listen to Denis' version on mp3. I quite like it, even the subtle change of lyric. Check out Denis' I'll Be Gone

Spectrum + dancers adjust to the new stage (pic Newman)
gig report
St Andrews pub Sun. 12.2.12
The 'new-look' St Andrews pub
13.2.12 -
We'd heard there'd been changes wrought at the St Andrews pub, but it was still somewhat of a surprise. It makes sense, especially visually-speaking, but it took us quite a while to work out how the on-stage sound had been affected. Generally it's more 'squishy' - the bottom end has been enhanced and the low mids and mids have been subsumed by the bottom end, leaving the top mids and treble quite clean and separate. Despite the Whittlesea Show and the St Kilda Festival we had a pretty decent crowd, led by the incorrigible Trollops and Drs Sellers. (pic) I dunno what the thoughts were from the new management, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

The shies look a little sullen but the vibe was great at the de Wolfs
gig report
Simon de Wolf's pre-60th Mt Martha Sat. 11.2.12
Simon's happy un-birthday
13.2.12 -
Texts were flying back and forth up until the moment we left for Mt Martha, mainly concerned with the state of the weather. In the end, Simon, whose 60th birthday it will be in July, decided to take his chances, and, as it turned out, the few showers we did have didn't dampen the collective enthusiasm. There were a couple of generations present, but everybody seemed to enjoy the music on show, first from Wayne Jury 's band and then the Spectrum trio.
Morning of the Earth one last time..

1) Yes - that's the Mentals' Greedy Smith in Wollongong 2) AND - that's Glenn A Baker with Lior and me in Sydney

3) The view from our dressing room at the Opera House 4) We had John Grant playing our Steinway grand piano..

5) That's Ariel's drummer, Nigel 'Catbrain' Macara with Tim Gaze and me 6) Pam Cleary made it to Sydney as well
gig report
MOTE WIN Entertainment Centre Wollongong Fri. 3.2.12 & the Sydney Opera House Sun. 5.2.12

The Morning of the Earth goes out with a bang
7.2.12 - The WIN Entertainment Centre in Wollongong is essentially a sports stadium, but it's modestly proportioned so the level of intimacy most suitable for the presentation of the Morning of the Earth show is still possible. The testosterone charged support band was possibly not the ideal complement musically-speaking, but the audience seemed to enjoy their contribution (so what do I know) and we were getting the vibe back-stage that nothing was going to stop the audience having a good time tonight. And that's the way it turned out too - meeting up with Greedy Smith (pic 1) at the signing table after the show was a bonus. Perhaps amazingly we've not met before - he claimed it was the first Friday night out to see a show he'd had in thirty five years and he absolutely loved the show!
We drove back to the Mercure Hotel in Sydney after the show looking forward to a day off on the town before our two shows at the Opera House on the Sunday. My cultural attaché from Canberra was to meet me in the morning, but she came down with a mystery illness the previous day and sadly had to cancel her trip, so I went through the motions of the day's planned activities, but on my own. Coincidentally, one of the highlights was to be going to the opera Turandot at, you guessed it, the Sydney Opera House, so I took the train in and had a very interesting, though solitary, evening's entertainment, which I might describe in more detail on the ASR page.
We'd brought some very good weather with us, and after I'd enjoyed a relaxed breakfast with my publisher Gus McNeil and Margaret, we negotiated the throngs soaking up some long-overdue summer sunshine down at Circular Quay before descending into the labyrinthine depths of the world-famous Sydney Opera House.
The dressing-room assigned to Lior and me was to die for - the views (pic 3) were iconic and we had the luxury of a Steinway grand piano at our disposal. Neither Lior nor I are a piano-player's arthritic elbow, so we enticed the 'reverend' John Grant in (pic 4) to provide some suitable background music just for us! Aaah - the high life!
If anything, playing a matinée and an evening show made us feel like a real professional touring show, but by the end of the night we were starting to realise that this was indeed the last hurrah. Meeting up with Glenn A Baker (pic 2) and Ariel's Nigel Macara (pic 6) at the post-show signing was pretty special, but it was actually good meeting all the various audiences at the signings - everybody seemed to be thrilled with the show and I was constantly surprised at how many youngsters had picked up on the music and had obviously taken it to heart.
There was a party in the Green Room while the crew packed up the gear for the last time. A real sense of camaraderie had developed over the tour, and the cast and Bold Jack touring company (and crews) all got on famously throughout. I feel especially privileged to have been invited to participate as a 'principal', particularly as I had nothing to do with the original recording.
I thought the last time we toured the MOTE show that there couldn't possibly be another one, so I'm not discounting the possibility of MOTE hitting the road again. I'll look forward to it too.
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