John Farnham, Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

John Farnham

Anyone who knows Poor John will be totally amazed that Saturday night he managed to stay awake until almost midnight.

The occasion was the ‘Anthems’ concert in Canberra that featured Jack Biilman, Lucy Sugerman, The Black Sorrows with Vika and Linda Bull, Kate Ceberano, Daryl Braithwaite and John Farnham.

Australians will recognise all the names, but others might not. Click on the links above to find out more about each performer.

Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

The arboretum’s natural amphitheatre with groves of trees and Canberra in the background

This amazing shindig was staged at our National Arboretum, which was created after Canberra’s devastating bush fires in 2003. Part of the arboretum is a large natural amphitheatre, which is perfect for concerts.

The venue opened at 4pm and we arrived at the gate about that time. But let me explain our arrival and exit plans. I tried to organise the shuttle bus service for drop-off and pick-up, but it was booked out. So I leaned on Vicky, our friend and neighbour. ‘Would you take us to the event, if we can get our own way home?’ She said, ‘Sure.’

So much earlier in the day (about noon), Poor John drove our car to a convenient (but little known) parking place near the arboretum, and rode home on my bike (the lighter of our two bikes).

Kate Ceberano, Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

Kare Ceberano

Bless Vicky for driving us to the event. It’s an hour of her life that she’ll never get back. It shouldn’t have been like that.

Let me explain. There was a lane for cars and a lane for shuttle buses. But suddenly about 50 cars decided to shift to the ‘shuttle bus’ lane. Geez, these are the people who think rules never apply to them. It screwed up everything, and caused a huge traffic jam and no access for the shuttle buses.

I wasn’t devastated to have missed the first performance and most of the second, but I was super irked by the thoughtlessness shown by some people. Luckily, their bad behaviour was soon forgotten.

Lucy Sugerman, Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

Lucy Sugerman

Now I should explain how we happened to have tickets. My birthday was in September. For a present, our daughters gave me two reserved tickets—so Poor John and I had seats instead of having to sit on the grass—and a cheese and charcuterie platter.

After we chose our seats, Poor John went to collect the platter. It was a great combination with four or five each of various cheeses and meats, as well as sultanas, fresh bread and crackers. It was more than enough to serve as dinner.

The Black Sorrows with Vika and Linda, Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

The Black Sorrows with Vika and Linda

So what were the highlights. For starters, the setting was brilliant. The arboretum overlooks the city and the lake in the middle. The stage blocked a lot of the view, but it was still a perfect location.

We arrived just in time to hear Lucy Sugerman’s last song. She’s a Canberra girl and was a finalist in the most recent showing of The Voice. She graduated from Year 12 the day before the concert.

Daryl Braithwaite, Anthems concert, Canberra, Australia

Daryl Braithwaite

My favourite performances of the night were Kate Ceberano’s Love don’t live here anymore, Daryl Braithwaite’s As the days go by and John Farnham’s Age of reason.

Was great to see sisters, Vika and Linda. I’ve always loved their music and have seen them live before. I had not realised their career got its start with The Black Sorrows in 1988. Also loved Kate Ceberano’s rendition of the late Chrissy Amphlett’s I touch myself, which has become an anthem for breast cancer awareness.

I was there as a birthday present, and there was another special birthday on the night. The audience sang Happy Birthday to Kate Ceberano. I won’t mention her age or mine.

But did I mention the sunset?

Sunset with Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

The sunset cast a golden glow on the arboretum hills in front of Black Mountain Tower

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