Royal Easter Show - Sydney, Australia

Royal Easter Show

silverchair made their last live performance for some time at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, N.S.W.

According to correspondent Melissa Duca, national television newscasts in Australia showed footage of fans being trampled, crushed, run over, hauled and pushed and shoved and security being done over in much the same way prior to the concert which was headlined by silverchair. Nearly 100 fans were treated on the scene by medical personnel.

Slave and Freak were among the new songs played at the show. Contrary to his assertions in a radio interview a week before the show, Daniel Johns did not sport pink hair for the concert.

Australia's modern rock radio station Triple J did not broadcast the performance, but Triple J's Michael Tunn talked with Daniel in an interview from the showgrounds. Triple J presenter Rose let the nation listen to silverchair's opening song Leave Me Out via her mobile phone while she was in the mosh pit.

After the show, silverchair were shown on television making a hasty retreat into a car, with hundreds of screaming fans in full pursuit.

Under the Milky Way: silverchair, RAS Showgrounds, Sydney, April 9, 1996

By SIMON WOOLDRIDGE, Juice magazine

silverchair were the personification of the energy, effort and physical expression every young fan there would have spent if they weren't crushed together like a tight-knit herd of religious pilgrims enveloped by awe. Fans with a reputation for moshing through the breaks between songs stood for the most part transfixed by the opening two epics, Leave Me Out and Slave. Such was silverchair's presence that beyond singing along word for word, many of the fans' interest in physical participation was reduced to restrained head-nodding, and desperate neck craning.

[Guitarist/singer Daniel] Johns was busy revealing just how much about showmanship he's learned on all those big American stages. Between him and bassist Chris Joannou it was skank central as they tore from one side of the stage to the other, crouching as if crushed by the weight of their own guitar attack. Johns sang the lines without dropping a stitch, but at every available opportunity he was headbanging like the proverbial Madman (that tune later introduced as a love song). The neck-wrecking thrashing may be an anachronism at which his cooler contemporaries would balk, but the crowd responded in kind.

Looking for all the world like a portrait of some Nordic prince as his blond hair flew in the wind, Johns dressed formally with his neat three-piece suit and pressed white dress shirt. Musically he was coming from less formal aesthetics, the three new songs premiered here showing generally heavier leanings. Slave has already gained itself a following, the slow offbeat crunch perfect for moshpit circle-work, allowing Johns and Joannou to throw themselves into the simple chunkiness of the riffarama. Freak used a gambit so similar that the two songs were at times indistinguishable. But fears of a second album filled with one riff were dispelled by Pop Song for Us Rejects, a three-chord wonder that retained the rhythm but changed the atmosphere completely.

The showmanship element didn't extend to stage banter. Johns may have been willing to act out lines, as he gestured to himself mockingly during Slave, singing "Lost my soul / Lost my confidence in me," but between songs he did little more than offer water and moral support. But then most of the set ran like a greatest hits, culminating in their amended version of Pure Massacre with an art-wank finish which, while harrowing at previous gigs, this time failed to take off.

silverchair have never known quite when to stop, and when Ben Gillies dragged himself through his own [drum] kit, heaving it from the riser and then ineffectually kicked it about in a strange attempt to take the ritual a step further than the obvious, it's reminiscent of Johns' uncomfortable ultimate screams at earlier gigs. From silverchair these extremes look like a band aping its peers rather than finishing with their genuine presence. But, making a mental note to check the body count as I left (network television painted a picture of carnage -- basically bruises and sprains -- that night), I was left wondering what else would top such a strong show. That, I suppose, is for silverchair to discover.

[Thanks to Melanie for providing this article.]

Daniel Johns on the Royal Easter Show, 1996:

"That was a really good show. That was a farewell to frogstomp, so that was the last show of a certain period of our career, and then we started with the making of Freak Show and developing our ideas for the next album."