5 March, Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia
Gary Brooker, aided and abetted by Roger Daltrey, Simon Townshend, Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Peter Frampton, Nikki Lamborn, (Billy Thorpe and Jimmy Barnes, the "Oz" factors) gave a memorable experience to those who attended "The Ultimate Rock Symphony".
"The Band" included: Geoff Whitehorn, lead guitar; Jimmy Jewell, keyboards; Ben Townshend, drums; Mark Clarke, bass; Alvin Fields, lead harmonies and the brilliant Keith Levinson, musical director/conductor. Adding wonderful depth and support were The Australian Youth Choir and The Australian Showband.
The result of this smorgasbord of stellar talent was each individual "name" artist doing great justice to classic "past pop" as well as some of their own material, for example Alice Cooper's malevolent Another Brick in the Wall or Paul Rodgers / Peter Frampton (on 12 string)'s rendition of The Beatles' Norwegian Wood and Paul Rodgers's Peace Suite, a medley of John Lennon's "message" songs. etc.
The greats just came and went, not upstaging, but complementing each other in great spirit. A camaraderie existed between these greats, each aware that he / she had nothing to prove, and a loving audience just lapped it up! Some of the "best of the best" co-operating to provide the audience with real satisfaction.
Oh yes, GARY BROOKER!
A very polished and dynamic rendition of Conquistador, followed by the moving A Salty Dog, and later in the show, A Whiter Shade of Pale. As he said, "Here's a song that has been played at so many births, weddings and funerals" Too true. We had a Hammond organist play it at our wedding in 1973! Where was Gary when you needed him?
His performance was as strong as ever. Soulful singing and playing on the grand piano, his all-too-cameo contribution left you wanting more. His wit came to the fore commenting on Aussie / Scot Jimmy Barnes's thick accent. He appealed to the all-aged audience, proving that real quality is everlasting!
The encore: Listening to You by The Who included Gary on the piano and everyone else harmonising and taking a turn at lead vocals.
Wish you were there?
We bet you do!
Thanks, Keith and Helen Herbert