The 301st (!) A Day On The Green was quite an event, even despite the burning (believe me!) sun and a misnomer in the title — but, then again, A Day On The Brown is rather less appealing.
First up was Stephen Cummings, who took to the stage with little accompaniment and proceeded to knock off an hour or so of solo efforts, an original Sports song or two and some new material. And while he's certainly one of the most idiosyncratic guys in Aussie music (read his autobiography for proof), his set proved a strange mixed bag of fluffed jokes, weird put-on American accents (or it seemed that way) and too many overextended versions of tracks like the recent "Love Is Mighty Close To You," the Sporty "Suspicious Minds" and (what else?) "Who Listens To The Radio?."
Tex Perkins and his Dark Horses were up next, and while he performed almost entirely new and unfamiliar stuff, and had some of the audience vaguely puzzled, there's no doubt he hasn't lost any of his growly charisma. And while many were obviously waiting for a Cruel Sea offering, and there was at least one, it wasn't actually one of their bona fide hits. But, well, he was cool, which can't quite be said about Jo Jo Zep &The Falcons, who had the punters on their feet with slightly sloppy, Countdown-esque faves like "Hit And Run" and "Shape I'm In" (complete with gags about the band's bellies, although the extra kilos didn't prevent the belting out of some serious sax).
The biggest surprise of the day were Sunnyboys, who performed as the sun started to properly, and mercifully, set, and demonstrated that they have more to offer than their hit "Alone With You." And they almost seemed glad for the opportunity to belt out some tight takes on lesser-known items including "Happy Man," "Liar," "My Only Friend" and their almost-charting "Show Me Some Discipline."
By this point many were naturally itching for the headlining act to commence, and Elvis Costello &The Imposters definitely did not disappoint, as the older, this-year's-model but still formidable bespectacled legend belted through everything from the opener, "I Hope You're Happy Now," to "The Mystery Dance," "Radio Radio" and the curiously intellectual ballad "Every Day I Write The Book" to lots of original pseudo-punk standards including "I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea." There was also an expanded, still bitingly yearning "Alison" before a terrific cover of The Rolling Stones' "Out Of Time" and a climactic running-together of "Oliver's Army" (complete with that N word), "Pump It Up" and an epic take on "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding," before the gang departed the stage with guitars feedbacking merrily. Yep, he might be pushing 60, but Elvis' aim is still true.