On the concert front…

On Stage

We don't get too many touring acts up this way (and when we do, people who don't buy the Townsville or Mackay papers, don't listen to the radio or watch much TV don't always learn about them), so these days the concert action tends to happen at least a thousand kilometres away, which in turn raises issues with air fares, accommodation and transfers on top of the $100-plus tickets.

Still, the money's not that much of an issue these days, and if the rumours about a Springsteen tour that circulated in late 2011 had turned into material reality Hughesy was prepared to catch as many sequential shows as he could find tickets for…

That said, I'm finding myself increasingly disinclined to head away unless it's someone I really need to see, and they're becoming increasingly few and far between as the old mortality bit kicks in.

The most likely scenarios, as far as future action is concerned, fall into three categories.

There's a window around the end of January and early February that has been known to throw up a couple of interesting acts around Big Day Out time, which had Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Jeff Beck hitting our shores in 2009, right when Hughesy's finances didn't run to that sort of extravagance.

Needless to say there was nothing to match in the same time frame in 2010, 2011 or 2012.

While we're not likely to be heading back to BluesFest at Byron Bay in the future, there are a number of associated shows each year, including the Elvis Costello and Tedeschi Trucks Band shows reviewed hereabouts. I'll be watching the announcements re. next year's line up over the Christmas period every year, but there are issues when the announcements are staggered over around three months from December to February and the associated tour dates come out well after the news that so and so are playing Byron.

These shows fall into the week on either side of Easter, which could provide an excuse for a trip that covers some combination of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne with sightseeing and other activities scattered among the concert action.

Then there's the possibilities thrown up when someone I'm really into tours nationally outside the preceding two windows. This one comes with two rather substantial caveats

First, it has to be someone working in a format that will allow significant setlist variation.

That would rule out multiple Leonard Cohen shows, for example and while I'd be really keen to see Richard Thompson in a band environment he tends not to vary his set list too much when he's working in that setting.

Thompson solo, on the other hand, varies a little more, and if there was a set of circumstances that mirrored the 2007 tour, when he played Byron, Brisbane and Eumundi on successive nights it'd be interesting to see how much variation went on when you can head from show to show by public transport.

On the other hand I'm not sure I'd be doing a Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne bit where RT is concerned. Southeast Queensland offers the opportunity to have a night or two of free accommodation in Southport. 2007 could have had me flying south the day before Byron, overnight in Southport, a night in Byron, another in Brisbane and a third in Eumundi with a further day or two in Southport before flying back. Doable…

With someone who does vary the set list, on the other hand, an Elvis Costello or Bruce Springsteen, the multiple nights scenariot becomes a very real possibility. Both of them have large back catalogues they've been known to trawl through.

This, however, brings in the other caveat.

Madam isn't going to be interested in multiple shows, and that, in turn, means a leave someone to their own devices bit while Hughesy catches the concerts. That could, in turn mean a Hughesy solo bit, or the two of us catching the first show with Hughesy heading out on his own for the rest of the tour or both of us jetting from city to city with only one attending the concerts.

All very viable options, one might think.

The issue there becomes the sequential tagged in before Springsteen earlier in the piece.

The rumoured Springsteen tour had Bruce doing two nights in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. I figured we could both catch the first Brisbane gig, and I'd pursue matters until I got to the point where I couldn't get a ticket for the next show. That might have pulled me right up at the second show in Brisbane, may have extended to the full run, and if it didn't run to all six, I'd be happy to have had the chance to do the rock'n'roll tourist bit anyway.

There are, of course, other possibilities. Someone might be playing Townsville, Mackay or Proserpine and I might hear about it in time. There's a blues festival in Cairns.

But as far as concert action goes I figure I've been lucky to see what I have, and anything from here on is a bonus…

And I never expected to see Messrs Cooder and Newman at all...