Back from a relatively quickfire trip to Melbourne to see Adele in concert. I don’t need to tell anyone reading this post that Ms Adkins is the biggest singing star in the world at the moment and probably the greatest talent of her generation. You will always get argument of course but no-one else has the ability, charisma, stage presence, personality and iconic songs to match her. Not even Beyonce. A quick check of Twitter profiles sees Adele with 28.7 million followers to Beyonce’s 14.7 million. Telling? Perhaps.
The concert itself was flawless and Adele shows a great command of herself and her show. She sings just as well live as she does on iTunes and has a self-deprecating sense of humour and a potty mouth which, when combined with her working class London accent seem made to go together and cause no offence. Whatever you expect of Adele she will deliver. A self-aware and professional performer who may not even have reached her peak. She’s only 28.
The only other artist I have ever heard who sounded as good live as he did on record was Johnny Cash-one of the legends of popular music who I managed to catch on his last Australian tour in 1992-an experience which has never dimmed in my mind.
Our tickets were in the bleachers at Etihad Stadium so Adele herself was a mere dot in the distance but the large screen above her stage gave us an up close and personal view of her performance and it was impressive to see how hard she was trying. It was her last show in Australia after a long tour but you wouldn’t have known it. An exceptional performer who has probably already attained a legendary status.
We stayed in East Melbourne in a comfortable enough apartment complex just off Victoria Parade. I love this part of Melbourne. Old style homes abound and walking the streets gives a feel of what it must have been like living here many decades when life was simpler but perhaps harder. The old church above in Hotham Street has been converted into apartments and a quick check of real estate prices today revealed that one of those abodes recently sold for 2.5 million dollars!! A little out of my price range.
Explored Bridge Street in Richmond and had dinner in Victoria Street, wandered Fitzroy Gardens and took a tram to St Kilda, pounded the promenade and ventured out onto the pier. A fine weekend shared with our great friends Michael and Julianne.
I hadn’t been in Fitzroy Street St Kilda since I was 14 when my Dad and I came down to follow the Melbourne to Warnambool bike race which started at Port Melbourne that year. Fitzroy Street at the time was noted for it’s frequentation by “Ladies of the Night” back in those days (and I must point out I was well and truly in bed before that sort of business was plied!) but is much more upmarket now and St Kilda is very much a jewel in Melbourne’s glowing crown.
As we were strolling down Fitzroy Street an elderly gentleman rounded the corner in front of us and I immediately recognised him (although it was lost on Linda) as the figure of Ron Barassi, legendary player and coach in the VFL/AFL and probably the most influential figure in the history of Aussie Rules football. Of course I was too scared to accost him and ruin his day by asking for a snap on my iphone but for a sports fan it was a bit like seeing God wandering along the street. We are a bit insulated from sporting heroes here in Canberra. Perhaps they are seen out and about in Melbourne all the time?!
We perused the markets at the end of the street and I bought myself a reasonably expensive hat. I normally wouldn’t fork out $40 on a handmade Panama style piece of headgear but it was as warm as the far side of Venus and a brilliant blue sky was giving the sun plenty of leeway to scorch my skin. Another hour in that heat and you would have mistaken me for a tomato to be sure.
The hat certainly saved me some discomfort even though I felt like a bit of dandy among the beautiful people of St Kilda.
A tram ride home and a short rest and we were off again to the aforementioned night with Adele and were all suitably satisfied.
Monday dawned steamy but wet and yet the weather had cleared a little by the time we boarded the flight home. As if sighting one living legend of Australian sport wasn’t enough, providence granted that we should sight another on our flight home. Adam Gilchrist, the heroic, legendary wicketkeeper/batsman was sitting in business class, two seats in front of us. Linda of course had no idea why I was pointing out the tall and lean stranger and gasping at the fact yet another famous face had appeared in our path on our short trip away. She claimed she had heard of him yet she surely wasn’t as incredulous as I at the close encounter. Again, I left Mr Gilchrist to his own devices and noted that he was accosted by a cricket fan at the baggage carousel and was suitably polite and friendly considering the interloper was trying to coax him into a surely unwanted conversation about cricket. Nice to know he lives up to his reputation as a nice guy.
And that was my weekend. Legends, friends and the sights of a great city rolled into one. One can’t ask for much more.
Until next time.