The Seekers 50th Anniversary Perth Concert Sat 2 November 2013
It came to me as I sang along with ‘Morningtown Ride’, not only do The Seekers write and sing beautifully crafted melodies and sensitive lyrics, they somehow embody a sense of decency – make you proud to be an Aussie and although they can rightly claim Superstar status, there is none of the diva arrogance, they are our bloody talented mates we grew up with.
The Perth show on Saturday night, was the first of their rescheduled 50th Anniversary Golden Jubilee Tour, following Judith Durham’s brain haemorrhage in May. It was hard to reconcile the shocking fact that just six months ago she could not write her own name, with the reality of the waif-like beautifully-voiced happy woman now gracing the stage.
The group took us on a Baby Boomers’ journey of memories, with Judith, Bruce and Keith taking centre stage for short solo performances. Sometimes the group played along to old video clips screened on a stage curtain behind them, yet 50 years later, the sound, the voices, the harmonies and the musicianship are just the same, perhaps better, with the pathos of life experiences adding shade to lyrics. Now and then, rehashed groups from the 60s go on tour, with one or two original members, it’s always fun, but the magic has inevitably gone, along with voices. These guys … and Judith! … have still got it.
Sure there were a couple of miscues, (it was the first show), but they were in themselves very funny. In some ways, it’s probably a shame they’ll be polished out, the warm humanity of the group shone through, with Bruce Woodley at one stage declaring to the others, “I think I’m able to sing this on my own!” and sing he did, including the song many, including myself, think should be our national anthem “I Am Australian”. At that point, with the audience singing along, I wondered what my German fiancée (in her late 30s) was making of it all, sure she knew the songs, her mum loved them and still has Seekers albums, but would the wonderfully warm, inclusive lyrics of love for Australia and Australians mean anything? They did, she loved it and understood how Woodley’s lyrics tapped into our ethos of a fair go and quiet pride.
The two and half hour show, plus interval was one of the most memorable, lovely nights I’ve ever spent at a concert. We had radio and ‘West Coast Promo Guy’ royalty in the seats beside us – Paul Gadenne, Lionel Yorke, Eoin Cameron and his long-term producer Brad, all of us were singing, clapping and perhaps, like me I wondered, silently shedding a tear. I later told Eoin I’d had tears in my eyes during a couple of songs, “Mate,” he said, “I was bloody howling!”
The Seekers, their music and their performances are a national treasure. The tour heads to the east coast after the final Perth performance and finishes in Brisbane on the 4th of December. Do not miss this show, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be uplifted and to quote Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” (another 60s hit), you’ll understand “It’s still a beautiful world.”
I should add as a rider, that Keith Potger is a much loved mate and gave us our tickets as a gift – we were going anyhow!