Melbourne Cricket Ground, 14 November 1998
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360 x 504 (38kb)
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Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 22:07:17
From: Mick Corr
To: David Gilliver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Sports at the MCG
The Sports took the stage at 7.15 to a respectable applause from an audience of about 55,000, many of whom were not even born in the band's heyday. Looking around, most of those giving them the best reception were from my generation: thirty-somethings with receding hairlines and expanding waistlines, and the guys were similar.
When the band fired up it was like twenty years had rolled away; it's amazing how so many things change but so many things stay the same. They sounded great considering the muddy soundmix that typifies stadium rock. Stephen didn't introduce anyone. No time, and I guess he thought we already knew them; but after such a long time it was hard to pick out which past members of The Sports were actually playing. With the help of the giant MCG screen I could identify (of course) Stephen (looking sharp with that distinctive silver hair), Andrew Pendlebury (still wearing his guitar high), Paul Hitchins on drums, and Jimmy Niven on keyboards. The other guitarists were more obscure... maybe Stephen can let us know who they were.
The timetable for The Concert Of The Century was such that they only got to play two songs, with little preamble and no time in between. The first was "Strangers On A Train", played straight and very tight, and pretty much as we remember it from "Suddenly". It was hard to believe these guys weren't still playing together regularly! The crowd started to pay attention. The second was that all-time Sports classic, "Who Listens To The Radio?". The band and really warmed up in this one and had a little fun with it,and the crowd responded. The arrangement was much looser than usual, employing a jazz feel in the middle and playing a fair bit longer than the recorded version.
And then, all too soon, they had finished and left the stage promptly as TCOTC timetabling required. I couldn't help but feel that they would liked to have continued playing, or was that wishful thinking? Certainly they played together as well as I remember all those years ago - just not for long enough.