March 2013 Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen

February and March, as I remarked to AB in the front bar at The Alliance, seem to be the prime touring times for overseas acts visiting Australia

There are a couple of reasons why this should be the case. One, of course, as AB pointed out, is the undeniable climatic fact that large chunks of North America and Europe are under snow, which tends to rule out large outdoor venues and creates logistical problems you won't come across in the warmer months. The other, apart from the high Australian dollar, which would seem to apply all year round, is the Bluesfest influence, which brings a large number of acts into the country for the Easter long weekend and shifts them around the countryside in the week or two before and after the event in Byron.

There was a point a couple of years back when I was inclined to close up the Little House of Concrete around Australia Day and head south, basing myself (and The Supervisor) in the unit at Southport with forays to Brisbane, Sydney or wherever there was something interesting on the concert action front. That was around the end of 2008, and 2009 would have been an ideal time to start the practice. Neil Young was on at the Big Day Out, and Leonard Cohen and Jeff Beck were touring, playing Brisbane. There was also, if I recall correctly, a non-BDO Neil show in Brisbane.

Which would have been fine if it wasn't for the little financial fiasco we've come to know as the GFC, which put Hughesy's superannuation balance into a tailspin, and mitigated against significant expenditure beyond what was actually necessary. That ruled out 2009 as a pack up and head off for February option, and probably took out 2010 as a touring window, because while my own financial situation had more or less resolved itself and we did head off to Southport, there wasn't anything of interest as far as touring acts went.

While we were there we had a visit from The Nephew and Partner since he needed to do some study, had to do it at Bond University and needed somewhere to live. My brother and I had held onto the unit because someone might need it somewhere along the line, and someone needed it a bit sooner than anticipated. It'll be a while before he finishes, so month-long stays don't really enter the equation at the moment, and we also have The Cat Problem to consider after we assumed responsibility for these three furry critters in early 2011.

In any case all the above explains why the rather interesting logistic arrangements for the first fortnight in March 2013 come into play. In a feline-free existence with the unit vacant we could have headed down around Australia Day, I could have caught Costello in Sydney and possibly at Sirromet, and then stayed in the neighborhood until Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen passed through in early March.

Neither Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen are Bluesfest artists, though one could foresee a situation where Neil might be, and the fact that both announced Australian tours in late 2012 has created a couple of little logistical dramas that Hughesy, for one, could have done without.

It would be handy if they'd do these things in a coordinated manner, so we could sort everything out as far as the concert schedule is concerned, then make the hotel bookings and the logistical arrangements, but they don't so you can't.

The Springsteen tour had been rumoured as far back as April 2012, and failed to happen in the suggested September/October time frame, so when Neil and The Horse was announced I failed to take the possibility of Bruce into account. Anyway, I had other concerns in the shape of pre sales that opened while we were in Japan and not guaranteed to have Wi-Fi access. As it turned out we were in Kyoto, the hotel had Wi-Fi in the lobby and I walked away with tickets to shows in Sydney and Brisbane after we'd checked out and headed back to Kobe for the return journey Down Under.

Back at home, with the dramas associated with a missing cat, concert considerations got pushed to one side to the point where I suddenly realized they needed attending to, attended to them and promptly found Bruce was headed this way about a week after Neil had done the rounds. 

All of which explains why I'm flying north after Neil in Sydney, spending a day and a bit at home and winging my way back south again for Bruce. But enough of the whys and wherefores. It's Travelogue Time.

© Ian Hughes 2012