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Thinking Of England

Thinking Of England

Who: Dan England
Where: Newcastle Panthers
Author: Jade Lazarevic
When: Friday January 27, 2006

PRIOR to his stint as a finalist on Australian Idol, Dan England's only experience performing live was as a member of Celtic cover band Bejesus. But next week England will hit the road in what is sure to be a real eye-opening experience as he joins fellow former Idol star Shannon Noll on a 34-date tour.

``It should be a huge amount of fun,'' England said.

``It will be pretty full-on but I think after doing Idol I should be able to slip back into that mode again, working hard.

``I definitely learnt a lot from being on Idol because you're doing stuff every single day when you're on the show and it can be really exhausting but it's definitely good training.'' England, who left his job at a Sunshine Coast service station to concentrate on the fight for the Idol title, jumped at the chance to join Noll on tour.

``Shannon and I have the same manager so it was teed up.

Shannon had a bit of a chat to me at the Opera House during the grand final and we just went from there.

``I don't know if he's a huge fan of mine or anything like that but we like each other. He's a good fella.'' England was controversially voted out of the Idol competition when just 27 votes separated him and fellow contestant Lee Harding. Because Queensland does not have daylight saving, the state was an hour behind the other eastern states which meant the voting lines were closed an hour earlier.

Despite this, England conceded he was happy to have placed fourth in the contest and started looking at career opportunities himself.

``I just wanted Idol to give me a head start in the music industry.

``I had nothing to lose so I'm really happy to have got where I did.

``It can be a bit of a blessing not to win. I mean, the winner does their album in a week and it's pretty rushed. You've got to get it out there straight away so there's a lot of pressure on them to do well so they never really stop.

``I've found I'm really quite happy to just chill out for a while because it's all going to go crazy again soon so you need that time off.'' England is also pleased he did not have to record the ballad Maybe Tonight which instead went to the winner Kate DeAraugo. When the 21-year-old was asked to begin practising the tune in the final weeks of the contest, he was unsure the song suited his style.

``We all got the song when we were in the top six and you're not allowed to change it in any way so Lee and I kind of looked at each other when we got it and went, Hmmmm . . . OK,'' England laughed.

When England hits the road with Noll and Harding, who has also joined the tour on the success of his number-one single Wasabi, audiences can expect a laid-back performance.

``What I'm going to do is just have me and another acoustic guitarist so it's going to be pretty laid-back, and I like that sort of feel.

``I really like Jeff Buckley. I think he was an amazing performer and songwriter and definitely someone I look up to. And I like other stuff like Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Alex Lloyd, Pete Murray.

``I'll probably record a track or two while I'm touring so I'm ready to have a single on the back of the tour.'' England will appear at Newcastle Panthers on Friday, January 27 on the Lift Tour. Tickets to the concert are on sale at the club

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