The Morning Night
Fly By Night
Monday, October 28. 2013
Without a doubt one of the year’s most anticipated gigs, on Monday night those lucky enough to secure themselves a ticket descended upon the Fly By Night to witness New York underground legends Television perform their landmark debut album, Marquee Moon, on their first ever visit to Australia. With the news of Lou Reed’s passing still fresh in everyone’s minds, the chance to see the original CBGB house band seemed even more poignant and was no doubt exactly what most of the audience was needing.
The Morning Night’s Adrian Hoffman & Isaura Campbell kicked things off in fine form, the impressive song writing of Hoffman complimented by the duo’s impeccable voices along with some dreamy guitar, keys and violin.
It wasn’t long after the pair left the stage that the venue well and truly packed out and when Tom Verlaine, Fred Smith, Billy Ficca and Jimmy Rip (replacing original guitarist Richard Lloyd) finally walked on stage, the reaction from the crowd sounded as if most people felt they’d already got their money’s worth. The problem with such expectations of a band that some people would’ve been waiting to see their whole lives is the risk of being disappointed. That wasn’t exactly helped by a tediously slow start and some short, disinterested banter. Despite this, the opening riff of See No Evil was so pleasing to the ears that all was forgiven, mostly. Granted, no one was expecting any theatrics but for the first few songs, it seemed a bit of a lost cause… then something happened.
During Little Johnny Jewel, front man Verlaine quit staring aimlessly above the crowd, shut his eyes and got completely immersed in the song. Suddenly he had the whole crowd in there with him too and the band well and truly kicked into gear, making it even more exciting than on the record. Opting to play the album on shuffle, so to speak, they prevented the hour and a half set from being predictable, quickly deciding on each song as they went along. Classic tunes like Venus, Torn Curtain and Guiding Light further cemented how Television can fill a song with both swagger and substance with such effortlessness. Although the band didn’t quite play the whole album (Friction was omitted completely), fans were treated to both Glory (from 1978’s ‘Adventure’) and the instrumental Persia, a live jam from their 2002 reunion tour. The twin guitar onslaught from Verlaine & Rip was a true highlight, staying faithful to the more memorable lines before straying into some beautifully out-there tangents that still managed to hold the audience’s attention for the whole journey. Eventually, after teasing everyone with two false starts, they launched into the album’s 11-minute title track and it was an absolute monster of set closer. After a short breather, they encored with Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction before waving goodbye one last time to an adoring crowd who, with word of a new album nearing completion, hopefully won’t have to wait so long until next time.
_ TIMOTHY NELSON