The adored outfit took their fans on a journey.
The Vasco Era’s set on a warm summer’s night at a sold-out Corner Hotel exceeded expectations, even for an outfit that’s already regarded as one of Australia’s best live bands.
Whilst this show was one of only a handful of live performances since Michael Fitzgerald [drums], Sid O’Neil [vocals, guitars] and Ted O’Neil [bass, vocals] officially pulled up stumps in 2013, it didn’t have the same feeling as the others, such as 2016’s Keep Star Shining Fundraiser performance that whilst excellent, demonstrated an incredibly emotion-driven motive.
From the outset, tonight’s performance was ensconced by a special energy emanating from the stage that implied The Vasco Era are ready to pursue a career again, at least as a touring band.
The set opened with just Sid, dressed in a caped jumpsuit circa Las Vegas 1970s, performing the Billie Holiday classic ‘Blue Moon’ but in the style of the Dean Martin version. After two verses of the ’64 hit, Ted, Fitzy and an accompanying guitarist/keyboard player scampered onto the stage before winding-up into a mighty rendition of ‘When We All Lost It’ from the band’s unhinged yet totally genius debut album ‘Oh We Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’.
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The rest of the set hurtled back and forth from their aforementioned celebrated debut to the hugely under-celebrated self-titled 2011 LP, with this album’s lead single ‘Rock and Roll Is The Only Thing That Makes Me Feel Good’ tearing across the packed room and even conjuring the first crowd surfer. This wasn’t the only crowd-riding hooligan to lie across the heads of others like a disorientated starfish not wanting to be left high and dry but afraid to go too deep. Let’s face it, the average Vasco Era fan, this reviewer included, is one pub meal too many beyond understanding a safe crowd surfing landing pad.
Tonight the band added another sphere to a fan favourite from the aforementioned debut – ‘Honey Bee (When It Was Making Weird Love Songs)’ saw a saxophonist join them on stage. This worked during the verses but the song’s introduction and chorus are so sonically massive already that sound technician Neil Gray looked in a world of hurt trying to capture the saxophone audible while not completely distorting it and feeding-back.
Highlight: After the first encore Sid staying on stating, “That’s the end of our set, you can leave if you want but I am going to play a couple more songs”.
Lowlight: The room not being more full for the excellent set from primary support Neighborhood Youth.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Rock and Roll Is The Only Thing That Makes Me Feel Good’.