by Neville Davies


The strident buzz of voices softens to a murmur as the lights fade above the packed audience. Through the mists swirling over the stage, a steady drum rhythm, shrouded in the low hum of a single synthesizer note, swells gradually into awareness. A spotlight stabs down through the hazy atmosphere and illuminates the iridescent coloured costume of a single figure slowly pacing out of the fog. As the microphone clasped in his right hand reaches his lips, comes the first line of his song: "Itís always cold inside the icehouse", and a murmur of recognition from the crowd mingles with the music.

In this way began the performance of the headline act of the Concert for Ď89; with a song synonymous with both the group and the title of its debut album Icehouse.

This was the last performance of the eighties decade for this Australian group, the culmination of a long bout of touring with the music from a catalogue of successful records, including the highest ever selling album in this country by an Australian band Man of Colours. There have been more Icehouse performances since, in the nineties, and there certainly were many more prior to this one, extending back into the seventies.

Yet, how many among the record crowd filling the Sydney Entertainment Centre that night of March 10th, 1989, really appreciated any more about the group on stage than what they were seeing and hearing at that moment? How many from the other performances before and since, or of the countless other fans throughout Australia and overseas, know the history and background of this band and its members?

How many remember how it burst out of the chrysalis of a poverty ridden covers performer in Sydney pubs in the late seventies, to become the brilliant butterfly of one of the most outstanding recording and performing successes of the eighties, dominant in the Australasian popular music scene and highly significant in the wider spheres of Europe and North America? How many have any real knowledge of Icehouse, the band, how it began, what it has done, its music, its songs and its people?

What follows has been written and recorded to supply that knowledge. This is the story of Icehouse.

© 1992 Neville Davies


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