Birmingham’s Institute was already heaving with excited rock fans for support bands of the evening, The Treatment and Orange Goblin; however; by the time that Aussie headliners Airbourne turned up to wow the crowds, the audience had grown so much that they couldn’t possibly cram in any more people to watch the show. When the audience were warmed up, the band entered the stage clad in tight jeans with their untamed hair already dripping as they launched straight into first song of the evening; Ready to Rock. Both audience and band seemed ready to do just that, as the crowd went crazy and the band channelled all the gusto and energy of the classic rock greats.
By third song Girls In Black, front man Joel O’Keeffe has already got the audience in the palm of his hand with his stage presence and vocal talent, but decided to take it one step further by getting hot and sweaty in the midst of the crowd playing guitar on a roadie’s shoulders. As he rode around the venue he was met by a sea of hands and shouts of delight from fans, before returning to the stage.
Joel’s unpredictability also continued in Cheap Wine and Cheaper Women, as he grabbed a bottle of Shiraz and necked most of it, while mischievously telling the women in the audience to climb onto the men’s shoulders so that he could see them all. The crowd were also encouraged to rock out during There’s No Way But The Hard Way, as a large spotlight was shone upon different areas of the audience so that the band could see all of the head banging that was going on.
In the evening’s encore, Joel was once again the centre of attention on top of amps during Live It Up and racing around the balcony duringRaise Your Flag, However, one of the moments from this concert that has truly stuck in my mind happened during the finale Runnin’ Free; when, like a man possessed, he grabbed three full beer cans while performing and smashed them over his head so they sprayed out beer everywhere.
If you want to see a good old-fashioned energetic rock and roll show, you can’t go wrong with seeing Airbourne live. Like many of the classic rock and roll bands, these larger than life Australians have stage presence in abundance and are able to command the audience with their own brand of ballsy swagger. It was a fun evening with some full on rock music.