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Road Tales, #3: Blush - The Big Road Trip

3rd September 2003

This little tale goes to show that there is more to the humble 'road trip' than meets the eye....

If you remember the story of the TV documentary (see Road Tale #2), this is the same band - although by this time (Nov 2002) I was playing guitar, not just providing a soundtrack.  Parabudoo and Tom Price are small towns in Western Australia's north, where iron ore mining has made some people very wealthy, and other people merely crazy from the heat.  These folks don't get to see live entertainment much, so when you travel out to The Bush, anything can happen, and usually does...

FRIDAY - We climbed aboard the Qantas jet for the 2 hr flight to Paraburdoo, knowing that we were heading into 40+ degree heat.  We travelled with the other people hired by Hamersley Iron for their two big family days.... A pyrotechnician and his son (they did the fireworks), the guys who operated the massive inflatable castle slide (woohooo), the Italian boys who ran the bungee trampoline (you had to see it!), and the clown..... The trip was safe and uneventful, and we were bussed to our hotel in Para, then to a meeting, where we were fed, watered and briefed on the weekend's activities.  All us 'showbiz types' were at the same hotel, so we hung out and did the tribal thing... some of us more than others.... the hotel had a pool, and the rooms had air conditioning, so we were set! Ready for the fun ahead! - or so we thought......

SATURDAY morning, and up at 7:00am (crap!) for brekky, then on to a bus for the hour's drive to Mt. Tom Price, the scene of the first family day. We soon realised we had a job on our hands.... We set up on an elevated concrete stage at one end of a huge oval, open to the very hot sun and a very hot and strong wind. The gig started before sunset, so we were singing into a burning gale, which is something like breathing the air from a blast furnace... The evening (mercifully) cooled down a little, but not before we had sung ourselves hoarse... The town's ankle biters, fascinated by the girl's costumes and the show, began to get closer and closer, creeping up the grass embankment towards the stage. By the end of the last set, it was: "Stand By To Repel Boarders! " .... for some strange reason known only to Graham, as Donna was thinking; "I hope the kiddies don't hurt themselves on the equipment", Graham was thinking; "Gallipoli". Strange boy, our Gra... We survived the gig, packed the gear back on the truck, and headed back to Paraburdoo, for a life-saving dip in the pool, and some light refreshments (read: we got smashed and partied out to forget our sun/wind burn).

7:00am SUNDAY (crap!), and up again to head off to the local park, where the wind was playing havoc with the marquees and inflatables.... This time we were set up on two truck trailers, the rear one enclosed. We had a little shelter, but paid for it in degrees centigrade. The girl's change room was like a rotisserie, and the trailers were covered in grease and cement dust. The Paraburdoo crowd was much more friendly and receptive than the previous audience, and the interaction made the evening much more enjoyable. The locals went off, the fireworks went off, the band went off, and fortunately, the power stayed on . We even scored an encore, so by the time we dragged our dehydrated, windblown bodies offstage, we felt like two tours of duty in the Middle East would have been a holiday!  The trailer we played on was the one taking our gear home, so the pack up was much better, and the whole crew made it back to the hotel to revive and get together to review the weekend. It was bloody hard yakka, but there were many incidents and yarns to swap and (after the fact) laugh about .We did get some photos (some incriminating), so stand by for those!  One more early morning (Monday), and we were back on the plane to Perth, having made some new friends, made some money, got sun tanned/burned, and experienced a 'different' weekend....

Moments of note:

* Donna putting the fear of God into an ignorant member of the hotel kitchen staff (hehe)

* Gavin (drums) and Troy (sound) donning the ABBA wigs for some stunning shots, when Troy forgot to take some pics of the band during the ABBA medley (Good idea, Vinnie.... wait for those ones!)

* The fireworks show in Paraburdoo (the man is a genius! - or insane...)

* Getting the wigs out at Paraburdoo airport for some silly shots, and convincing the locals that Blush is, in fact, barking mad...

* Graham getting bitten in the groin by one of two centipedes who invaded his bed on the last night (don't ask, okay? just - don't...)

* There were, of course, other things that happened (mainly back at the hotel), but good manners (and Australian Federal Law) prevent us from disclosing them..... sorry, but you had to be there.....

Graham Greene

 

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