The Seven Network made a one-hour special of Little River Band's sensational performance at 2SM's Summer Magic gig and while I don't remember watching it on TV at the time, I knew that the footage existed and wondered how I might ever find it. Exactly 34 years later I discovered that a DVD someone had recently sent me included the entire special. The production quality (as opposed to the quality of the actual DVD I have, which was copied from a video recorded in 1978, when I didn't even know anyone had video players) is superb. It was produced by Stephen Priest, the pioneering Australian music video producer, and both the visuals and the audio are world class.
Only two clips from this concert have surfaced on YouTube so far, one uploaded by Graeham Goble himself, and I will feature them here on this page. But mainly I'm just sharing with you some screen captures from the film to give you an idea of just how classy this show was. All 2SM free concerts were mindblowing and memorable, but Little River Band, already hugely successful overseas, were a cut above all other Australian bands of the time in terms of their live standards.
This performance came a few months before the release of their magnificent Sleeper Catcher album and what a joy it is in the film to see a performance of "Fall From Paradise", albeit with the extended intro missing. No wonder Graeham wanted to share this song with the world on YouTube; it is gorgeous.
The TV special opens with what actually happened towards the end of the show John Hartman from the Doobie Brothers joined them on a second set of drums. I'm not sure how accurately the sequencing of the rest of the program matched the running order of the concert and, obviously to fit a one-hour TV show including ads, at least half the setlist would have been cut. Also, Stephen Priest overlaid some of the live vision with graphics and footage from elsewhere.
Another interesting thing is when Glenn Shorrock thanks the audience at the end of the show, he refers to the "break in the middle". I am trying to remember if perhaps there was a power outage during their set. Was anyone there who remembers that?
This is Little River Band's finest era. It's the "classic lineup", featuring the three core members of Glenn Shorrock, Beeb Birtles and Graeham (then just Graham) Goble; along with David Briggs, a brilliant lead guitarist with a really unfortunate penchant for dungarees; George McArdle, a soulful bass player who left the music world to focus on Christianity; and Derek Pellici, a true powerhouse on drums.
It has been said that some of the footage was re-done in a studio after the event, and that it's "obvious" and "painful" to watch. Pshaw, I say. I was at the concert, near the front as always, and this film brings back all the joy of watching Australia's best live band of the seventies in all their classic glory.
Anyway, enjoy the photos, and hopefully one of these days the full 45 minutes of the film will be made available for all to see.