A city we were vaguely warned about for its conservatism turns out to be beautiful, vibrant and welcoming. The meandering Brisbane River provides glorious waterfront views and warm winds waft white clouds under starkly azure skies. Our show is at the Brisbane Convention Center, downtown, near the hotel, every bit as monolithic as the name suggests. Everything inside the building is far away from everything else, requiring directions, patience, time and strong legs.
Our shuttle van delivers us to the backstage door in a hangar large enough for aircraft. Catering is three flights (or was it four?) downstairs from dressing rooms. The squash soup is as good as any I’ve tasted.
The show is very well attended but we’d need to be Dethklok to make use of the entire space, much of which is blanketed over, especially the upper tiers. Nonetheless a very vocal and appreciative crowd greets every song and each guitar player receives a very warm welcome. This is the last official G3 show of the tour (tomorrow’s final performance will see us with an extremely shortened version) and everybody pulls out all the stops. The sets go a shade long – who can blame us? The crowd goes wild for the G3 jam. The playing is raucous and irreverent, the sound on stage is good, if a little boomy, but everyone is elevated. Upstairs again afterwards everybody laughs about clams, tone (or lack of it) and inspiration.
We all shout at each other while recovering from stage volume. Turning into fanboys and fangirls, we sign tour posters for each other as if we’re signing our high school yearbooks, mementos as the Summer begins. For the new G3 participants, myself included, it’s been a good-hearted whirlwind of super fun music played with joyful and often hilarious players. The G3 veterans say it’s the best, most enjoyable, of the series yet.
Tomorrow is the Byron Bay Blues Festival, two hours north of Brisbane. It’s an enormous affair with five stages, almost 200 acts from all over the world, and very short sets for us – a sort of musical surgical strike.