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Joe Zawinul
Live at the Continental Cafe, Melbourne, Australia
Concert Review by Nick Anchen

 Joe Zawinul live in Melbourne, Australia, October 2000

It took 22 years, but it was worth the wait. Since I first heard the music of the great man, back in about 1986, I dreamed of seeing him live, but I never really believed he would ever come to Australia. And now here I was, standing outside the Continental Cafe in Melbourne on a windy spring evening, October 17, clutching my ticket, which stated "Joe Zawinul and band, 9:15pm". A dream come true indeed. I was lucky enough to have seen the band at their absolute peak, in my opinion, in California in June '97, with Paco Sery, and Gary Poulson, and I was hoping the current line-up would suffice. I was not disappointed. Due to public demand, 2 nights became 5, and a good crowd turned out each night. Technical faults marred the opening nights first set, and I think some of the audience were a bit perplexed by what they saw, especially the eternally crazy Manolo Badrena playing the wall.......that even caused Victor Bailey to raise an eyebrow...... but everyone soon got into it and it was a descent show. The next nigh, however, the 18th, was a knockout, totally blew me away. Especially a long, jazzy improvisation of Rockin' in Rhythm and a splash of Birdland and lots of other things thrown in, just pure magic. The audience really went off. Equally popular was Victor Bailey's rendition of Continuum, a worded tribute to the great Jaco Pastorius, sung while sitting on a high chair. (Victor had a broken foot from playing basketball and spent the entire show seated.) Nathaniel Townsley seems like he is really enjoying his stint with the band, he is a fine drummer, although no Paco Sery, but then, who is? The current guitarist is a Calcutta born American called Amit Chatterjee, like Poulson, a very subtle player, not overwhelming. I enjoyed his playing. Some said age is catching up with our Joe, but I don't think it is, he is playing brilliantly, and still seems to enjoy what he is doing, and was genuinely pleased to be back in Australia for the first time since the Mr. Gone tour by Weather Report in 1978. Joe Zawinul reminds me of an evergreen tree, it is timeless, it just keeps on going and going. Nick Anchen, November 1, 2000.

Nick Anchen, November 1st, 2000


Joe Zawinul Australian Tour 2000 Poster
Courtesy of:
David Graham




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