Monday, December 8, 2008

The Concert Adventure

Early last week one of my best friends forever, T, (BFFT), phoned while I was feeding the dogs. I heard the phone message so raced up to the house, but it was too late. She’d gone. They cryptic message was “As soon as you get in the door, phone me. It’s important.”

BFFT is the friend with the daughter in the Navy, mentioned on Australian Story with her North Mackay High School for their study and excursion to Gallipoli. BFFT has another daughter, two granddaughters and a son. Her mother is in Germany and has not been in the best of health. I was concerned that something had happened to one of her family members.

I phoned her back. She asked what I was doing on Saturday. I thought for a nanosecond, and answered “No.”
“How would you like to come to a Billy Joel concert with me on Saturday night?”

“How would you like to come to a Billy Joel concert with me on Saturday night?”

“Hell, yeah!” was the answer. I haven’t seen BFFT since about Christmas 1999, when she visited with her son on the way to the Gold Coast on the trip she’d promised him for years. (Picture is BFFT and I at the top of Mt Coot-tha, Brisbane in 1999.)

BFFT had won the tickets in the local rag and her husband had to work on the weekend. I am so disappointed he had to work, truly! Ahem.

On Saturday afternoon I arrived at the apartment she was staying at, in Park Road, Milton, at about 5pm. Ish. Another friend had picked her up from the airport, taken her to lunch and entertained her for a few hours while I was fluffing around at home. We had to leave the motel at 7 to catch the train to arrive at Boondall stadium for the concert by 8pm. Three hundred metre walk to the station from the motel, about 500-600metre walk from Boondall Rail Station to The Entertainment Centre.

Light rain was falling as we walked to Milton rail station. There were thunderstorms around, we could see the lightning. There had been storm warnings during the day. I got an umbrella out of the car for BFFT and decided to tough it myself, it wasn’t that wet.

Qld Rail attendants don’t know much. Can’t tell you which line to get the train to the station you need! Not even while consulting the map. Very friendly, but couldn’t tell how much the ticket would be, and you can’t buy a ticket from the, ahem, Ticket Office at the railway station, you have to use a vending machine. Another customer and his G/F wanted to buy tickets – he only had a $50 note and the machine wouldn’t give change for it. The attendant couldn’t help. Arrgh! Signs all over the place say “It’s a crime to travel on a train without a ticket”, well, good luck with that, guys! The train we needed to catch arrived and none of us had tickets. We bought them when we changed trains at Central for the Shorncliff line.

Most of the people on the train were headed to the Billy Joel concert. What an amazing variety of ages were represented. Along with people my age, there were some older and many younger people, some of them looked to be in their 20s. There were a few odd people we saw who must have been heading to a fancy dress night, but I think they got off the train further along.

We arrived at Boondall some time later. Watching the lightning show from the train on the journey was interesting. We hoped that it would have passed by the time we had to alight. No such luck.

It was pouring at Boondall, and all the way to the stadium. Huge puddles, the sides of the path were boggy mud or boggy mulch. Many women took their shoes off to avoid slipping. By the time we got to the stadium we were all drenched. Everyone was in good humour, though, the excitement of the concert had taken us over. We were glad to be there. We’d all heard, or knew, that Billy Joel is a brilliant entertainer.

The weather was monsoonal, hot and muggy. Thank heaven Boondall is air conditioned. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold so we won’t end up with pneumonia. We forgot about our discomfort when the music began.

We needed some water and bought the water and our souvenirs before we entered the main arena of the centre – a good idea, the queues were huge when we were leaving! I’m not sure if BFFT and I missed the start of the concert, when we arrived, the lights were down and he sang “My Life”.
My Life: We were ten rows from the front (mosh pit), in the second block of seats in the front row there. What a great position. As you can see from the pix we could see it all!
image 8
Billy Joel’s concert was great. It’s been so long since I’ve been to a concert (I did see Les Mis in about 1999, I shouted MDFD to the show at the Lyric in Bris for her birthday as she’d NEVER been to a musical show like that before. She loved it!) I used to go to the Muso’s Club in Sydney many years ago (in the late 70s), and listen to live music there, Leon Berger. That was good.

All the musos on stage with Billy Joel were multi-skilled, multi-talented and multi-tasking. There’s one bloke who played the sax, flute, guitar, harmonica, percussion, and so on, he was great (BFFT nicknamed him “Lurch”), and there was a woman on stage who was percussionist and played sax, brilliant. The drummer was thoroughly enjoying himself, I nicknamed him “Animal”. Billy Joel played piano, guitar and harmonica.

Drummer: The night was fantastic, I think everyone enjoyed the concert. The concert started at about 8:15pm and finished just after 11pm, there was a brief break of about five minutes during the show, but they were back pretty fast. The show ended and there was no Piano Man. The lights hadn’t come up, so everyone was shouting for more and applauding. Then Billy and the drummer came out and he did Piano Man. The show went for two hours mostly non stop, amazing effort. Joel’s banter was humorous (although the same as the previous concert).
Piano Man:
The rain had stopped by the time the concert finished, we walked back to the station with the throngs (there were apparently 12,500 people at the Joel Concert, according to one security bloke there). We caught the second train to Central and connected immediately with an Ipswich line train to travel to Milton. We were back at the motel by midnight (I think.), however, we were starving hungry, none of the local restaurants were open, cooks finish at 10:30, all they had was coffee and cake. BFFT had bought some bundy and coke cans and we talked for a couple of hours and drank four cans on the balcony and watched the distant lightning and close car accident (the police took a young woman away, I think she crashed into another car and was done for DUI).

It’s a shame we didn’t have longer together, it’s been 9 years since we had a good chinwag. I found out what her kids were doing and we had a laugh about the old days. We’ve been friends since we were 13, even though we’ve only lived in the same city for about 12 months after we became friends.

I’d really like to thank BFFT for asking me and also the Mackay Mercury for having the competition, the prize included the concert tickets and accommodation, and a petrol voucher in case you wanted to drive down. And BFFT’s daughter for finding the cheap airfares for BFFT to fly down.

BFFT’s going to try for some more concert tickets… she enters lots of competitions.

Splice: I haven’t got a clue where to get kebabs late at night in Brisbane… I’m from the country!

No Eccies on the night, the only drugs we take these days are for hypertension and so on. Nothing recreational about stayin’ alive at all!

PS: I arrived home to discover that there had been about 38mm of rain recently, the water was still rushing beside the road at Walloon and Thagoona when I drove through there at about 9am. Altogether there's been about 63mm of rain out here since Friday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great night. Well done. Mehaul