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arts

“Coming Home” by Beeb Birtles. I didn’t realise that the Fringe Festival was a month-long event that runs from February to March every year with something going on every night in one of the parks surrounding Adelaide. Of course, Adelaide has been known as the “city of the arts” for many, many years now. My mind takes me back to 1978 when Little River Band performed at the Adelaide Festival Theatre, as it was known then, with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Measham. There’s a fabulous photo of my wife, Donna, backstage talking to the S.A. premier, Don Dunstan. It wasn’t that long ago that I was back in Adelaide when I was inducted into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame in November 2017, along with Barry Smith, my old flat mate and lead singer of The Town Criers, and posthumously, Darryl Cotton. We’re all Adelaide boys. In fact, Barry Smith and Darryl Cotton attended Marion High School together and were both on the cricket team. So, moving forward to the Fringe Festival 2019, I was invited to headline my own show, “An Evening With Beeb Birtles”, by Rob Pippan, one of the organisers of the festival. Many phone calls and emails were exchanged between the two of us leading up to the time of my arrival in Adelaide. I put together a set of songs that I felt would please everyone attending the evening. Some ZOOT songs, a couple of Mississippi songs and quite a few Little River Band songs. It was hard work rehearsing twenty three songs with the musicians in the Rob Pippan Band. They had all done their homework and over three consecutive nights we were able to whip the songs into shape. In the meantime it was announced that “An Evening With Beeb Birtles” had sold out. Wow, what a homecoming! And the interesting fact was that it had been 50 years since ZOOT had left Adelaide to move to Melbourne to seek their fame and fortune on a national level. Not being accustomed to speaking to an audience, I learned very quickly that music fans are very interested in hearing the stories behind the songs. And that’s where I found my comfort zone. The sold-out audience was with me from the start as we ran through the set list, encoring with ‘Life In A Northern Town’, the new ZOOT single that was added to “ZOOT ARCHAEOLOGY”, the new ZOOT CD released by EMI Australia. Both Darryl Cotton and Rick Springfield had recorded a version of the song, and Rick was able to lift Darryl’s vocal and drop it in on his own version. Rick sent me the music files in Nashville, where I live these days, and I sang the third verse and added some high harmonies on the choruses. It turned out to be a spectacular ending to the night with images of Darryl singing the first verse, images of Rick singing the second verse, and of course, me singing the third verse live. All of the videos that appeared behind the band during the night were put together by the brilliant Victor Marshall. The Rob Pippan Band: Matt McNamee on drums, Shaun Duncan on bass, Russell James on keyboards, Rob Pippan and Gary Isaacs on guitar, Craig Holden, Nanette van Ruiten and Dino Jag on vocals, were outstanding with giving their everything to the show. It was a night I will never forget! n

BEEB BIRTLES THE LAST POST – 2019 ANZAC DAY EDITION  35  

Profile for The Last Post Magazine

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

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