Back in the heyday of Cold Chisel, when they were blasting their way to iconic status on the pub circuit, I was a freezing punk in a disenchanted London.
Years later, I caught up with the sentiment and Cold Chisel became a kind of surrogate teacher of Australian rock and roll history. Last night at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, the band held a class of ’73 reunion, a one-night stand and deliver.
And deliver they did, to a packed house that turned rock and roll into revival and further propelled Barnes and Co into the echelons of Australian music mythology.
Maybe it’s because a couple of them hail from my own small island, or maybe it’s because their powerhouse brand of ballad still rings with authenticity, or just maybe it’s because Cold Chisel and Australia are virtually inseparable, but whatever it is, when Ian Moss cuts loose into one of those quasi-religious solos, somehow, you know you’re home.
So okay, this isn’t the original Chisel, but damn, it’s as close as, and Charley Drayton’s smash-and-grab rhythm section, in collaboration with Phil Small, more than does justice to the folklore of Prestwich and Small. Add David Blight’s haunting harmonica and Don Walker’s dangerous keyboards and just about everyone present could feel that water lapping at their feet again.
Mix and match they did, dropping in some new material from the recently released The Perfect Crime; reference Adelaide they did, much to the delight of the Moss Pit; hitting the blues and spinning the rockabilly they did.
But with five songwriters and two singers and a swag of hits to draw on, it was only a matter of time before everyone got what they wanted: a cavalcade of back-to-back memorabilia (from “Cheap Wine” to “Khe Sanh” to “When the War is Over”) that needs no re-mastering, only the spellbinding mastery of a band that never really broke up.
As Jimmy Barnes noted before Saturday Night … for a band like Chisel, every night is Saturday night. So it is for their multitude of fans, too.
Cold Chisel played one show only at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre as part of their national One Night Stand tour.
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