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Chisel Came Back to Play and to Win

Chisel Came Back to Play and to Win

Who: Cold Chisel

UP until the time the doors were open, the band's management refused to confirm that COLD CHISEL were playing, but did confirm that tickets to see 'top Sydney band' SENATOR and 'special guests' would cost $25.

But rumours had been circulating since midday Wednesday that JIMMY BARNES' manager had booked the room out and had 25 of his own security heading for the venue that Friday night.

By Thursday the rumours had been reported in THE NEWCASTLE HERALD and by Friday lunchtime Sydney radio stations were broadcasting the details of the rumoured performance.

Strangely, though, Fanny's did not completely sell out and anyone who came in off the street could have walked in and heard Australia's favourite rock band perform for the first time since 'the last stand' in 1983 that filled the Newcastle Workers Club three nights in a row.

There have been 'secret shows' in far flung places such as Broken Hill and Dubbo over the past six months, but this was the closest to the launch of the band's latest album THE LAST WAVE OF SUMMER. By the time Senator ripped through its set it was 10pm and chants of 'Chisel, Chisel, Chisel' began to rise from the floor.

When Knights legends MATTHEW and ANDREW JOHNS took to the stage to introduce the band, we knew we were going to see what we came to hear.

'They can kill the steelworks, takes our mining jobs away from us, but they'll never kill rock and roll in this town,' Andrew Johns said.

Introducing 'arguably the best band that Australia has ever produced' Johns encouraged the audience to 'go off!', and they did, as a trim looking Barnesy and an all-in-black IAN MOSS strode on to the stage.

A thick blat from a guitar and a chest thumping boom from the kick drum heralded the arrival of PHIL SMALL, STEVE PRESTWICH and DON WALKER, who took their places and launched into a new song BABY'S ON FIRE. The song set the tone for the evening, with its rock solid rhythm, Barnes' gravel-edged scream and Mossy's clean licks and concise guitar phrasing.

The next song needed little introduction as Barnes followed Walker's two bars of keyboard as an introduction.

'. . . once I smoked, a Danneman cigar, I drove a foreign car. Baby that was years ago. I left it all behind. . .' The crowd roared.

CHEAP WINE, FLAME TREES, SATURDAY NIGHT, CHOIR GIRL, BOW RIVER, MY TURN TO CRY - the hits came thick and fast - mixing in easily with unfamiliar songs which turned out to be from the new album.

'How do you like our new stuff?' Barnesy asked, to which he received a roaring response in the affirmative.

He might as well have asked 'How would you like us to dip a vat of hot oil over all of you?'

The answer would have been the same.

Several hundred Chisel fans would have quite happily died at Fannys last Friday night and gone to heaven.

Only a few songs into the set and Barnesy apparently had a front tooth knocked loose, after a surge in the crowd sent his microphone and stand careering into his face, unexpectedly.

He laughed it off. Barnesy and other members of the group were well at ease with each other, with a hyperactive Barnes at one stage joining Walker for a bit of impromptu keyboard dancing, JERRY LEE-LEWIS-style.

As for the playing, the band was in alarmingly dangerous form, playing each song as it was originally recorded, not straying terribly far off the track which was pleasing.

I wasn't there the first time around, but Chisel's songs have always been there. Having now seen the band live I can at last fully understand what all the fuss is about.

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