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Review: Greg Phillips Photos: Jason Rosewarne 25/6/2023

As time marches on, there’s increasing social media chatter about touring heritage acts and what constitutes an authentic representation of a band and what’s deemed a cover outfit. Take British hit makers 10cc for instance, who are currently on tour in Australia. On the surface, only their bass player remains of the original recording group. However, as the band displayed on stage at Melbourne’s Palais Theatre last night, there was more than enough original bloodline and genuine 10cc sound to please even the most finicky fan.

For a start, the bass player/vocalist is Graham Gouldman, co-writer of some of the bands biggest hits and legendary songwriter in general. He also wrote Bus Stop (the Hollies), For Your Love (The Yardbirds) and No Milk Today (Herman’s Hermits) among many others. Lead guitarist Rick Fenn has been with the band since 1976 and drummer Paul Burgess has also toured with the band from pretty much the beginning. Add Swiss army knife musicians Keith Hayman and Iain Hornal (both play acoustic and electric guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion and sing) and you’ve got one talented, hard working, fabulous sounding band.

The band strolled on stage and immediately made a statement with a rockin’ version of The Second Sitting for the Last Supper from the Original Soundtrack Album. Clearly this was an accomplished band, with thousands of gig hours under their belts, intent on delivering an entertaining rock show. Art for Art’s Sake, Life Is a Minestrone and Good Morning Judge followed, taking the audience back to another time when their hair was thicker and bellies flatter.

Hornal’s vocal capacity is immense as he took on most of the parts originally sung by Eric Stewart or Lol Creme. Fenn’s lead work was immaculate, exhibiting shades of Gilmour and Clapton, featuring precise and gorgeous melodic guitar lines.

Much like fellow Brit band Queen, 10cc possessed an idiosyncratic side and often provided fans with quirky lyrics, song concepts and unusual song structures. Clockwork Creep, a song about a conversation between a bomb and an airplane from their Sheet Music album is a fine example of this. Not my cup of tea but a large section of the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

Feel The Benefit, an epic, ten minute plus track from their Deceptive Bends album was always going to be a crowd pleaser, giving the band the opportunity to showcase the full breadth of their talent. The Wall Street Shuffle completed another tick on the audience’s bingo card of hits before Graham Goldman pulled out a solo tune, Floating in Heaven, a song about a celestial telescope, which featured Brian May on the recorded version.

Heading toward the pointy end of the show, the hits got bigger. One of the band’s most successful, The Things We Do For Love had the audience up out of their seats and dancing. Say The Word was an Iain Hornal-penned tune from his solo album, an attempt at writing a10cc, 70’s style song, featuring the classic harmonies the band is famous for.

The multi-layered I’m Mandy Fly Me is delivered with grace, true to the original version and while in an ethereal mood, they float straight into I’m Not In Love, one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. While I’ve heard the song a thousand times, I never fully appreciated Graham Gouldman’s sublime bass work until seeing him play it live in front of me. And that bass solo on his Rickenbacker 4001 bass … breathtaking!

The obligatory Dreadlock Holiday ended the set proper before returning for an enchanting a cappella version of their first ever release Donna. With everyone up and ready to cut loose, the band produced a killer, extended and fun version of Rubber Bullets. The band may be a few CC short of the original lineup but nobody in this audience was complaining, they’d heard all of the hits, played authentically by real musicians with passion and virtuosity and you can’t ask for more than that.

Remaining Australian tour dates:

BENDIGO Ulumbarra Theatre – Wednesday June 28

HOBART Wrest Point – Thursday June 29

ADELAIDE Thebarton Theatre – Friday June 30

DARWIN The Playhouse Theatre – Saturday July 1

PERTH Astor Theatre – Sunday July 2


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