Westernport Hotel and sharing an unforgettable two hours with a couple dozen lucky bastards (and bastardettes) who'd come from near and far -- mostly far -- and been rewarded with greatness.
It wasn't a promising start. When we arrived at the Westernport only locals having a Friday night out with their kids occupied a sprawling dining area. Quite a difference from the night before, when walking into the Northcote was like arriving at a family reunion and Jamie and I were engulfed by friends made at Springsteen concerts and 'Springsteen & Us' soirees and Jake's 2014 shows. The Westernport felt as welcoming to a member of the Jake flock as a highway rest area. While sipping pale ales Jamie and I were eventually greeted by Selena, a familiar face who'd driven down with friends, so we weren't alone. But close. We inhaled a pair of ol' reliable chicken parmas and made our way past a pair of pool tables full of mopey surfers to a wide stage, an empty parquet floor, and a few unoccupied tables at either side. The dire warnings voiced during the trip down from Melbourne were coming to fruition.
It was also about to become a very special night.
Like the most satisfying of payoffs, the start offered little hint of what was to come. You could hear a koala sneeze in a Phillip Island gum tree as Jake clipped on his saxophone. If he seemed slightly distant we in attendance matched that with a self-consciousness about the unjustifiably sparse crowd on a fucking Friday night. The warm, convivial aura of the Northcote was a memory replaced by too much space in a high-ceilinged room two hours from the Big Smoke.
|Embracing light, even in shadow.|
|Tour manager Simon joined the boys for a show closing 'Carry Me Through'.|
|Standing to Jake's left are a couple from Indiana named Ciola (forgive my guesswork spelling) and Dan, who have been following Jake and the band down the coast from Sydney. A truly lovely couple.|