by Neville Davies


The final strains of the last encore fade beneath the applause. Through the stamping, clapping and cheering comes the lead singer's goodnight call:

"Thank you very much. This was our last show for a while and you've been great for it. Thank you. Goodnight."

The band files off into the back stage darkness as the rising glow of the house lights floods down onto the stirring crowd and the canned music starts pouring from the P.A.

It is just past midnight, just past the close of April Fools' Day and Easter Monday of 1991, and just past the close of the final show of the Flowers a.k.a. Icehouse Tour at the Wollongong venue Waves.

The crowd breaks into groups moving in various directions. The bulk merges into the lines streaming back through the foyer and exit doors to the car parks. Further masses gravitate to the bar areas in preparation for raging on through the night to the disco music now belching from the sound system. A smaller group forms around the stage door in expectation of a last look at, or even a short word with, the members of the band. Some of these have been fans for years, following the band from town to town, show to show, hearing the same songs again and again with no hint of fatigue or boredom. Surely, at this tour's end, some recognition, some small reward for their undying enthusiasm is little enough to hope for.

And so, what was, just a few minutes ago, a heaving, yelling, cheering, amorphous mass of humanity gradually dissolves into a few thousand individuals, each separately motivated by the events of the last few hours, each separately warmed by the afterglow of the night's main act, and each intent on his or her own separate thoughts and feelings.

Some thoughts even dwell for a moment or two on the band that has just performed. Yes, it was a great show tonight, but what comes next? What did he mean about this being their last show? Do they mean - ever? They have been around for a long time. Their last album wasn't all that successful. Not like the one before anyway. Perhaps they are ready to call it a day.

Then again, maybe they will just take a spell and come back after a while with another album or another tour. That's usually the way it happens. Will we hear some more new music from them? Will we ever see and hear Icehouse on stage again?

There don't seem to be any answers to these questions floating on the balmy April night air. The band doesn't seem to be sending out any telltale vibes from the back stage rooms to which they have retreated. Perhaps not even they can answer these questions yet.

Or, perhaps the only real answer that can be given to that sort of question was there, in the last song of tonight's show, that final encore in which they came back to tell us —


© 1992 Neville Davies


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