KIWI driver Scott McLaughlin might have taken ownership of the Newcastle 500 with his track-taming victory on Saturday afternoon, but the evening belonged all to Cold Chisel.
An estimated crowd of 20,000 flocked to Foreshore Park following the racing action to receive a fuel injection of rock’n’roll. Even the far eastern hill was densely-populated.
Supercars and Cold Chisel enjoy obvious cultural cross-over appeal. There were hundreds of people who staked out spots early in the day and had obviously bought Supercars tickets especially to see Chisel.
And they didn’t disappoint. Without a doubt the Aussie pub rock icons have still got it.
Cold Chisel tuned up on Wednesday in Hobart for their first concert in almost two years and brought no rust back to Newcastle.
Jimmy Barnes prowled the stage constantly, letting his trademark gravel voice boom across the audience. Sweat poured off the 61-year-old “Working Class Man’s” face.
There were no pit stops. No idling. No petrol left in the tank. Barnesy and co gave it everything.
Barnes’ only issue was remembering the lyrics. For several tracks, and particularly for The Perfect Crime off the band’s last studio album, Barnes constantly sang the words off a lyric sheet taped to the bottom of the stage.
Surprisingly there was very little banter from Barnes - simply the business of rock’n’roll.
After opening with Letter To Alan the pace was frenetic. Standing On The Outside, Choir Girl and My Baby all followed in quick succession.
Ian Moss’ guitar work was immaculate, peeling off bluesy riffs and solos.
He was having fun too. Moss and Barnes constantly shared smiles and laughs as they rocked around the stage.
Bassist Phil Small, pianist Don Walker and Charley Drayton were less animated and concentrated on delivering an air-tight unit.
The energy picked up for Cheap Wine nine songs in and the crowd belted out the chorus in unison.
The reaction seemed to take Chisel to another level as Shipping Steel and You Got Nothing I Want continued to whip up the crowd.
Then came the power ballads. Flame Trees and then surprisingly Khe Sanh before the encore. Boy, did Newcastle sing their little hearts out.
Earlier, Newcastle indie band The Owls opened the evening with their English-inspired brand of indie rock and proved why it’s a travesty that they don’t enjoy greater success.
Spiderbait built the party atmosphere with an energetic set of alternative rock that featured their classics Buy Me A Pony (with bassist Janet English on drums), Calypso and Black Betty.
Frontman and drummer Kram was brutal on the skins. At times it felt like he was attempting to nail his snare through the stage.
Year one down for the Newcastle 500 and the bar for musical entertainment has been set magnificently high.