Even though there were only five all-stars named on the Easy Fever tour to perform a wide collection of hits by The Easybeats, those in attendance were treated to a lot more Australian talent than they would have initially realised! Joining Chris Cheney (The Living End), Tim Rogers (You Am I), Kram (Spiderbait), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon) and Tex Perkins (The Cruel Sea) in paying homage to The Easybeats were John Paul “Jak” Housden (The Whitlams/The Badloves) on lead guitar, Ashley Naylor (The Swarm/Even) on rhythm guitar, Dario Bortolin (Dragon/Baby Animals) on bass, Dave Hibbard (The Badloves/The Hands) on drums and Clayton Doley (The Hands) on keyboard.
Scheduled to start at 8pm, Easy Fever didn’t end up starting until about 8:15; not that the almost sold out crowd of young and old, wearing their Australian band t-shirts minded. Assuming their positions with their instruments, Housden, Naylor, Bortolin, Hibbard and Doley were on stage for majority of the night as Cheney, Rogers, Kram, Jamieson and Perkins rotated vocal duties for the evening. Starting the night out with Jamieson singing Woman (Make Me Feel Alright), the transition between Jamieson leaving the stage and Rogers walking out to perform She’s So Fine was that seamless, that if you blinked you missed it! Rogers had the crowd involved in the first of many singalongs for the night during She’s So Fine as he was dancing around the stage and thoroughly enjoying himself; he wasn’t the only person however as everyone in attendance was either singing or dancing along all night.
Even though the night was broken into two halves, the night didn’t seem to stop from the opening of Woman (Make Me Happy) and the closing note of Good Times; the first half of the set consisted of 15 songs, with such hits as Say That You’re Mine, Too Much, Wedding Ring and I’ll Make You Happy, which showcased Cheney joining Housden/Naylor on guitar for neither the first or last time throughout the evening. After a quick 15 minute intermission in which Cheney told the Melbourne crowd to “get and get a drink to refuel”, the second half of the performance started with both Kram and Cheney performing Not In Love With You; it was really weird for this reviewer to see Kram walking around the stage freely as he sang, instead of being stuck behind the drum kit! Mind you, Kram couldn’t keep himself away from the drum-kit all night, as he assumed his all too familiar position at the back of the stage on more than one occasion; during Black Eyed Bruiser and Hey St Peter, the stage hand had to actually come out and do running repairs, as Kram actually damaged one of the support legs on the kit! This resulted in Kram and Cheney asking how the Melbourne crowd were doing and Kram jokingly mentioning that he was ‘just filling time until the drum kit gets fixed!’
The on-stage chemistry and comradery between the five guest vocalists was evident, as Rogers referred to Cheney as ‘the work experience boy’, Jamieson as ‘the work experience girl’ and pointed out Perkins’ ‘dedication to putting on a show for fans’; after all, Perkins didn’t see Bortolin’s amp and ended up falling backwards over it. This accident resulted in an ongoing laugh all night between Perkins and the audience, as every time he went in the general vicinity of Bortolin’s amp, he would give it a comedic wide birth. This on stage chemistry also allowed Kram to perform Yesterday’s Hero by himself; this was meant to be performed as a duet with Cheney, but Kram took the time to dedicate this song to his mum and cousins who were in the audience; Kram went on to explain that long before he got in AC/DC how he used to sit and watch Countdown with the family, falling in love with John Paul Young and his hard hitting lyrics.
Hard Road was the final song of the set and once the final notes had rung out, every touring member lined up in front of the adoring fans and took multiple bows to a massive show of appreciation and respect for a job well done; even though at this stage it was close to 10:30 (and already 30 minutes past finishing time) the show was far from over! Rogers started the encore off by singing The Music Goes Around My Head for fans, before the epic roller coaster trilogy that is Evie was performed with Kram singing Part 01, Perkins coming out and making Part 02 his own before Jamieson’s performance of Part 03 delivered pure chills down the spines of everyone in the building, both staff and concert goer. Good Times was the swan song of the night and what perfect way to draw this fantastic evening of celebrating Australian music to a close; all five guest vocalists were on stage having a ball, not only appreciating the opportunity to show their appreciation, but also enjoying the fact that this was the last show of the tour.
If you weren’t in attendance last night, you missed an amazing performance; The Forum played the perfect host to the vocal talents of Cheney, Perkins, Jamieson, Rogers and Kram, as it allowed each of them to showcase the reason that they are the voices of their independent bands!