A Night Out 30 June 2016

Doug Anthony All Stars; Brisbane Powerhouse: Tim Ferguson, Paul McDermott, Paul Livingston. Not the original line-up; the press tells us that’s because Richard Fidler now has a real job (on ABC radio) so Flaco joins the trio as ‘the guitarist’ and he also provides asuperb warm-up set. Much of the show plays on the fact that Tim is now in a wheelchair and while not presenting quite the same level of raucous wildness of the 80s, it draws on much of the signature DAAS purile, single-entendre punch-lines…but DAAS just aren’t as funny or anarchic as they once were – growing up, ageing (and moving ever onward toward the inevitability of death too perhaps) may do that but hey, well done to Tim & Paul for picking things back up and laughing all the way to the end, and for laughing especially at themselves, although maybe quite a bit more at Tim than anyone – exploitation of the situation maybe? My partner for the night felt it was; I’m not convinced. But I did go home to later watch a short piece made by Libby Gore about the current series of shows and how they came out of Tim’s desire to confront his MS and to continue doing what he loved – he quit the group because the diagnosis but didn’t tell the other members about the MS… Tim has MS, the shows talk about this, they poke fun at lots of things, including perceptions of illness, being a ‘spastic’ (Tim’s words) and death while at the same time trying to capture some of the ‘so wrong it’s good’ magic of their youth. Does it work? Sometimes, maybe, mostly – especially when you realise you’re laughing with (at?) someone exhibiting the obvious symptoms of MS… wrong but right? I don’t know, the show is genuinely funny in parts, genuinely entertaining in others and for mere seconds you wonder what the hell you are doing there, everyone in the room remembering but not quite reliving their glory day memories of DAAS at their damn wrongest best.

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