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Australian band, Powderfinger who originate from Brisbane, reformed after disbanding 10 years earlier, for an online performance dubbed "One Night Lonely" to raise essential funds for Beyond Blue and Support Act during the COVID 19 pandemic.
The pre-recorded show appeared on the band's Youtube channel at 7:00pm on Saturday 23 May 2020. Reflecting the state of the health crisis and the associated restrictions, all of the original members appeared for the show alone (either in personal recording studios or closed music venues) and from different locations across Australia: Bernard Fanning in Byron Bay; John Collins (JC) at the Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane; Ian Haug at the Airlock Recording Studios in Brisbane; Jon Coghill on the Sunshine Coast; and Darren Middleton in Melbourne.
They kicked off the 40 minute set with "Bless My Soul", which set the scene for a dynamic evening of rock. With a huge selection of material to choose from, across 7 studio albums, the band were in a privileged position of having so many great songs to select. But their choices were on the mark and featured some of their favourite hits including "Sunsets", "Thrillogy" (my personal favourite from Odyssey Number 5), "Already Gone", "On my Mind" and "My Happiness".
The searing guitar mastery of Ian Haug, was as good as ever, and Bernard's vocals (mixed with some fancy harmonica playing and tenderly pressing the piano keys) were an in your face reminder of why the band were so loved and applauded. JCs' signature and unique "reach for the floor" bass-playing style made an appearance as well.
They hadn't lost any of their musicianship over the 10 years and the songs were as relevant and timeless as ever. In fact, it left many wondering where the 10 years gone and whether there would be a return tour when restrictions are lifted?
Of course, the screams of thousands of fans (some 100,000 recorded online) were missing from the front of the stage and any dancing or jumping was restrained to the privacy of home lounge rooms, but hey, we'll take it.
With friendly banter between the members about fashion choices, resemblances to Captain Jack Sparrow and physical distancing in between the songs, it felt like being on the sideline of watching a band's tour rehearsal or just a jam between friends.
Darren, JC and Bernard were sure to outline the causes they were fundraising on behalf of Beyond Blue's mental health services and Support Act, supporting those in the entertainment industry whose livelihoods had been effected shutdowns.
As well they encouraged concert-goers with current tickets for cancelled performances to hold onto their tickets if they can for when concerts will be re-scheduled.
The performance ended with the hauntingly beautiful hit "These Days", fittingly the same song which they closed their final tour concerts, with lyrics reflecting these strange times: "Control well it's slipping through my hands. These days turned out nothing like I planned"
Bernard returned during the video's outro and credits with a personal and heartfelt message to encourage those needing help to seek support from Beyond Blue. "You won't be the first and you won't be the last," he sadly reminded us.
For fans old and new, the night was a success to recapture the sheer pleasure of watching a great Australian band but it was also a financial success, raising a staggering $321,000 for the sponsored organisation by the next morning.
Thank you, Powderfinger for giving us one night and to remind us that there is no need to feel alone or lonely. Bless your soul.