Adelaide Oval’s Village Green, 8 February, 2022
‘Icehouse’ were never really the techno-guys they were painted as – Nothing to Do from their first (best?) album (when they were ‘Flowers’) is a song Lou Reed would have liked to write and perform – and this terrific retrospective, conceived around the 40th anniversary of the inaugural release of Great Southern Land, written by Iva Davies in homage to Australia and its landscape while homesick on the band’s first overseas tour, showed how their hits were basically great rock/pop, performed by a band that is pretty much as cohesive and professional as ever.
As we recall, the song list was: Icehouse; Walls; Electric Blue; Street Cafe; Crazy; Hey Little Girl; My Obsession; No Promises; Touch the Fire; Man of Colours; I Don’t Believe Anymore; Baby, You’re So Strange; Great Southern Land. Iva Davies voice is undimmed and he has worn so well he took the chance of presenting his young self in some of the 80s videos to accompany the songs (in fact, the visuals to this concert were outstanding for taste and clarity.) He was very well supported by rhythm guitarist Paul Gildea, Michael Paynter on keyboards and vocals, Hugo Lee impressing the crowd, particularly the ladies, on sax (that exemplar of the 1980s), Steve Bull (bass) and Paul Wheeler on drums. Your reviewer always thought Great Southern Land a tad monotonous and dirge-like: but live, it came startlingly awake, complemented by William Barton’s great work on the yidaki (didgeridoo).
The main set closed with two great early hits that had the audience chanting along and up on its Covid-infringing feet: Can’t Help Myself and We Can Get Together, and the encore featured Midnight Oil’s Put Down That Weapon (from ‘Diesel and Dust’) and, in a nice nod to Adelaide, an early Angels song, Marseilles. Icehouse closed with their very boppy Nothing Too Serious.
Iva Davies IS the man he used to be. A great time was had by all.