Did the stars dance over Drummond Street, Oakleigh last night?
If not why not?
The stars were out courtesy of the Caravan Music Club at the Oakleigh-Carnegie RSL last night. It was a superb night to celebrate and launch Shane Howard's new CD, Goanna Dreaming. I found the demographics of the 300 people who packed the performance space interesting. The majority were over 35 years of age with a large and significant proportion in Miss Eagle's range of antiquity. These are the generations for whom Razor's Edge and Solid Rock are anthems and these songs were the first and final numbers of Shane's performance.
The support act was Sally Dastey formerly of Tiddas. Salley's strong and clear voice was in fine form and she had us singing along to that Celtic favourite of Miss Eagle, Wild Thyme also known as Will you go lassie, go.
Sally did what all good support acts do - left us in fine form for the main act of the evening.
At interval, the lucky door prize was drawn. It was a huge framed Goanna poster. There was great amusement and merriment when the winner stepped forward. It was Tim Costello.
Shane's concert turned out to be a family and friends affair. Former partner Amy Saunders and their daughter Myra Howard were on stage most of the evening. Damian Howard, Shane's brother, was there for a couple of numbers. Kerryn Tolhurst - formerly and again of The Dingoes - was part of the band. Late in the evening Shane called for Dave Arden and he appeared. And, finally, Australian music royalty came on the stage - Archie Roach.
Archie spoke of Shane's connection to the Spirit of Place. Needless to say, there was an allusion to Goanna's historic recording but Archie meant more than that. His reference was about connection to country and how it was the true measure of a man - and Shane Howard had a true connection to the Spirit of Place.
The concert proper finished with a stirring rendition of Solid Rock As the song went on, little by little people around the room - not everyone - got to their feet, clearly to honour the spirit of the words and the music and the memory. It was moving.
Then everyone was on their feet pleading for the encore - when went on for a long, long time. Very generous, Shane.
It didn't occur to me until last night how much water came into Shane's songs: the sea, rivers, creeks, waterholes, soakages. Seems to be something there that wants to come through: humanity - survival - refreshment - spirituality perhaps.
Background: Shane Howard
Top Leftt: Sally Dastey
Bottom Left: Myra Howard, Damian Howard, Shane Howard
Top Right: Archie Roach
1988 - Back to the Track
1990 - River
1993 - Time Will Tell
1994 - Live in Ireland, Australia & New Zealand
1996 - Clan
2001 - Beyond Hope's Bridge
2004 - Retrospect
2004 - Another Country
2006 - Songs of Love and Resistance
2009 - Driftwood - Rare and unreleased
May 2010 - New Album 'Goanna Dreaming' due for release
1988 - Back to the Track
1989 - Just A Feeling
1990 - Walk on Fire
1990 - If the Well Runs Dry
1990 - Here and Now
1991 - Escape from Reality
1993 - I Shall Be Released
1993 - Flesh & Blood
1991 - The Videos
1993 - Going Home (Various Artists)
1994 - Earth Music (Various Artists)
1982 - Spirit of Place
1985 - Oceania (LP)
1992 - Oceania (CD)
1998 - Spirit Returns
singles & eps
1979 - Living on the Razor's Edge (EP)
1982 - Solid Rock
1983 - Razor's Edge
1983 - Let the Franklin Flow
1983 - That Day... is comin' sooner
1984 - Common Ground
1985 - Dangerous Dancing
1985 - Song for Africa
1998 - Sorry
1998 - What Else Is A Life
.....AND FOR THE MEANINGFUL WORDS
Interview with Jeremey Lee
Shane Howard launching Lyrics at Readings
Further reading, viewing and listening: