23 February 2010

Reflection - live music, Darren Hayes

Today there was a massive protest rally in Melbourne to save live music. The Age reported 'the protest was organised in response to restrictions placed on small music venues under the government's liquor licensing laws.' Venues such as The Tote have shut down because of these laws.

I was unable to attend because I was at work, but I am fully in support of live music. It's sad that live music suffers because of drunken violence on the streets of the city and not in the music venues.

I've seen so many great live bands - big names and lesser known ones. I met one of my best friends at a Lazy Susan gig in 2006. I've seen countless live bands, and loved every single time.

I don't want live music to stop.

You can find out more about the SLAM rally at their website. SLAM stands for Save Live Australian Music, by the way.

A friend told me that Manchester Lane had shut down. Manchester Lane was an elegant jazz bar in Melbourne. I feel sad. I have only been there twice but those two gigs were some of the best of my life.

I saw Darren Hayes there twice. The first time on 13 September 2004 and the second on 22 March 2007.

These were amazing experiences.

I can remember the buzz before the show, and the way Darren looked at me during the show. Magic.

Here is a blog entry I did on my Myspace blog after the 2007 Darren gig. It really shows my excitement and passion for Darren.

My Darren Hayes experience in full
22 March 2007

I'm going to post a blog about my Darren Hayes at Manchester Lane expereince. An account of my experience rather than a review because to be honest, I can't recall everything about the music due to my overwhelming excitement.

Manchester Lane was to showcase some songs from Darren's upcoming album 'This Delicate Thing We've Made'. The doorgirl said there were about 150 people who managed to get in.

My friends and I got dressed up and waited outside the venue from around 4:30 pm, hoping to see Darren before he went in for the soundcheck. There were four girls and a bemused husband in our group. Lucy, Jaclyn, Tanya and her husband Brett. We all looked stunning in our dresses (Brett didn't wear a dress though).

I've never seen Darren with full on fans before. We were all excited, but I think I was physically by far the most enthusiastic. We stood outside the door behind the barrier, and everytime a car came in the alleyway, I'd run and peer through its window in case Darren was in it. I think at one stage, a driver waved me off because I was obstructing traffic.

We made friends with the security guard, Steve. I asked him a million questions, and he took a photo of the group of us outside the venue. I ended up making a documentary on my camera with Steve, interviewing him about how he felt about Darren and the world in general.

I also spoke to Troy, Darren's hairdresser, and commented on his trousers. I called them a 'manafore' - meaning male pinafore. (Jaclyn deemed them a 'pantafore', which I think is a pretty cool word). We conceded it's better than a mankini later at the bar.

We managed to see Darren very briefly as his car was up against the door and the crowd of screaming girls (yes, including me) was big. I did tell my friends that when it comes to Darren, I am all for myself, and true to my word, I ran on my own to see him, not looking if my friends were behind me. Jaclyn and Tanya managed to come, but poor Lucy missed out. Darren makes me turn into a shrieking monster I think, because when he got out of the car, I was shrieking and jumping up and down (the security guard told me they need a screamer there!). I thanked him for the tickets and he saw me, he said 'my pleasure' and then went into the sound check. I got one picture, well, he's about 1/8th of the picture and the stripey shirted security guard made up the rest of the picture! Darren and co went inside for the soundcheck.

Jaclyn saw Darren standing near the bar in the middle of their soundcheck. I missed him, but spent a great deal of time with Tanya peering into the window and trying to hear if he was singing.

We were finally let in after 6 pm. Our table was near the front, though there was about three people in front of us on either side of the table. There were three tables long ways in front of the stage. The meal was really good, especially the dessert.

In the pre-show music, Angus and Julia Stone's Paper Aeroplane song was featured, so i was very happy about that.

A caberet style singer called Antigone performed about three songs before Darren came on. She wasn't my cup of tea, but she was a powerful singer.

A short break before Darren came on and everyone was getting excited. As there were no cameras or recordings allowed, I did the nerdy journalist thing and got some paper out to take notes with. I ended up jotting down some lyrics and things he said, as well as part of the set list. I hope that doesn't contravene Darren's recording and posting online requests.

Jaclyn had warned me that his music was a bit techno, or at least, a bit different to what I may be used to - she had been to the Sydney show. I was expecting some Chemical Brothers type stuff, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Darren wore a black suit with black sneakers. The jacket had a strip of contrast trim down the front.

The music was very blippy electronic beat-oriented, despite the use of guitars and drums.

His first song was 'Fear'. I can't recall too much of it, I do apologise, because I think i was just overwhelmed with him coming on stage. There was quite a fast paced lead up, and some fast singing. Not 'I want you' fast,but fast enough to keep up with the beats.

His second song, Who Would Have Thought has been stuck in my head. One of the lyrics was 'who would have thought it could be this amazing... I had to find you, I had to let you know...and bring me back to you'... There are long verses and a lot of guitar.It sounds like a radio hit, if he actually releases songs from this album onto radio.

The next song, Carry On Dancing was impressive. I do like the theatrics of this song, in its originality, and to hear it live is always good. This version was quite rocky. The setlist says 'Carry On Amadeus'. Excuse my ignorance, but I don't know what Amadeus is. In this song I recall Darren dancing around the stage and being very animated with his hands. He introduced it saying 'this was my favourite song, when I was in That Band'.

'Unlovable' was the next song, kind of acoustic but fast paced at the same time. Unlovable has always hit me hard, especially seeing the back graphics at his Big Night In show in Sydney last year. This really made me stop and think. I know this song is big for Tanya too, and she was listening with great intent. He also mashed up 'Footsteps on the dancefloor' in the middle of Unlovable.

Darren comented that the front crowd were quite chilled and the back crowd was partying. he said 'it would be really cool if we could get party and chilled to have sex' and then said something about maybe causing a riot.

'Step into the light' was his next song. I can only recall one lyric, 'I've never been so in love before'.

Darren also included some anecdotes in the show, they were conversational and very funny. Not funny because he is darren hayes and he should be laughed at during every funny thing he says. But genuinely funny. He told a story of how he was in a vafe with bad service and the waiter apologised saying that Kylie Minogue was in before. darren said he's obviously not photographed enough.

He asked people to put their hand up if they didn't know he was gay, and he counted two people. He then said his mum did not know, and the crowd let out a sympathetic 'awww', to which Darren mocked us. "aww, poor thing, his mum didn't know he was gay'. he said his clothes in the 1990s should have been a dead giveaway about his sexuality.

He playfully commanded a setlist, which was already in front of him, and did a funny charades type thing with Shave on keys about what the next song could be.

The next song was How to Build a Time Machine, which was my favourite lyrically. Darren introduced it as one of his favourites, a song to 'try to drag some joy forward in some way'. He mentioned his marriage and falling in love and the crowd was extremely receptive for this, letting out a cheer. I did write a lyric down which I thought was breathtaking, and reminded me of Darren's incredible writing ability. 'I'll tell my reflection it's not your fault'. Wow. There was lots of guitar in this song. And two paces of music. Lyrically the song was about recalling events in his past and bringing something good from them.

He then sang 'I don't think you're ready for this jelly' before he did a gorgeous acoustic of 'I Like the Way'. I'm not keen on this on the album, but it was acoustic and the words were somehow more powerful. There was guitar in this one too.

'Words was his next song - introduced as 'a song about when I've spent all my anger and know I've done the wrong thing'.

I am thinking, as I type this, my notes paid off! It's good and useful to be a nerd.

He told the audience of how he was thrown out of a Whitney Houston concert because he was disruptive, on his seat, answering Whitney's large calls for dancing to the crowd. He said the bouncer had him a headlock and also felt up his sister's boobs.

The next song was 'I want you'. And he asked the crowd to stand up and dance. I stopped taking notes here, and everything went to a mushy state of euphoria because I ran up the front. I got quite close to the stage, very close in fact. No one in front.

I want you was fairly traditional. I loved it.

A girl had a teddy bear and she showed Darren, he grabbed it and tried to destroy it – jumping on it, pulling it, biting it. He said he 'did everything but have sex with it, it's indestructible'. In trying to destroy it, he let me tug on the other half of the bear, he pulled so hard I fell onto the stage! Later he apologised, saying 'sorry about before', I said no problem and I pointed to the newfound set list, asking if I could have it, he said 'of course you can'. Later I had to argue with the waiter for the set list.

Tanya and Lucy ran up to the front during 'On the Verge'. Jaclyn couldn't make it through the chairs in front. Brett was minding the bags at the table.

Tanya was so excited. More excited than me at one stage. She held my hand during the entire song On the Verge and we spent the song jumping up and down and looking at eachother and Darren in amazement. Lucy was having a great time dancing too.

He then played 'Me Myself and I' and 'Baby I am Popular' (a mashup of Prince's 'Baby I'm a Star' and 'Popular', but these are a bit of a blur to me. He did wink at Tanya in Popular and she was thrilled.

There was a short break and he came back to do Void. I really like this song, and again it was powerful live. At this point I was so happy with seeing him live I had tears in my eyes, and my arms were folded and I was contentedly singing along. He looked down at me which was amazing.

When he said his goodbyes, he leant down and gave me a hug then a kiss. The hug was genuine and lasted a good ten seconds. I can't recall much of it except the feel of his bristles on my nose. I keep asking my friends who were with me whether it was real. It was apparently. I was beside myself. So excited. That meant the world to me.

And that was it. Goodbye Melbourne. Can't wait til the album comes out in August.

After arguing with the waiter-cum-bouncer, I got the set list. It has their hotel details on the back.

We ran outside to the car waiting to take the crew away. Waited and waited. I kept on exclaiming how Darren is the 14th boy to kiss me.

Got no photos. Darren came out after Troy, he was bundled in a scarf and jacket in 35 degree heat. He pressed his face up against the window. Then the car drove off.

Oh what an excellent night.

I feel so honoured to have heard the music before the album release, and also for Darren's affection. My friends were truly appreciative too. We got an awesome table, thanks to Manchester Lane, and also the generosity of Darren for putting tickets aside for me when I was sick in hospital. So cool.

I didn't get any photos of the Manchester Lane gig in 2007, but here is the photo Darren took with my camera at the 2004 gig. If you look really closely you can see me in the background. When I look at these photos I think of the great time I had seeing Darren and how special he made me feel.

And here is one after the show.

I was smiling for days after those two gigs.

The buzz of seeing Darren play live beat any album.

Save live Australian music. It's the fans and bands that need it.

(PS this is my entry for the Blogthis reflection challenge.)


  1. I saw the protest today...it was a hugeeeeee protest...a lot of roads were shut down in the city!

    I didn't know what protest it was for so I didn't join. If I knew, I would have gone with them. It was a really huge crowd so hopefully, the government will rethink their decision!

  2. The protest looked amazing!


  3. What an amazing time for you-and you got the set list too! It must have felt amazing Carly! :D

  4. I love live music today, in fact my most recent post was related to the topic.
    It is sad that live music is under threat as I think the quantity currently available is a draw-card of Melbourne as is our fabulous restaurants.
    P.S. I loved Savage Garden they were the first band I ever owned on CD

  5. I didn't realise Manchester Lane had closed :( I played there a few times with my big band. Was also intending to attend the SLAM rally but after driving an hour and a half each way to Bundoora RMIT for orientation I was a bit too tired.

  6. Lorraine - the concerts were amazing! I felt very special at both of them :)

    Daughter of the stars - thanks for commenting for the first time! Glad you enjoy Savage Garden. I will check your blog out.

    Robyn - Manchester Lane apparently closed late last year. I had no idea!

    From friends' accounts, the SLAM rally was awesome.


Thank you for reading my blog. I love receiving comments :)
I really appreciate the time you've taken to write to me, and to share something about yourself.


Related Posts with Thumbnails