From the sublime—The Reels’ 'Quasimodo’s Dream', Aha’s 'Take On Me', Deborah Conway up front of Do Re Mi singing 'Guns And Butter'—to the ridiculous—Painters And Dockers’ 'Nude School', Pussyfoot’s 'Ooh Ja Ja' or the merest hint of Village People—was not just a cliché; it was the way of life each Sunday during the 13 years of Countdown.
And let’s not forget the moments which were sublime and ridiculous: Devo singing 'Whip It'; Kate Bush on another plane with 'Hammer Horror'; any time Sherbet appeared with satin jackets over bare chests.
There were bands you loved, bands you loathed, artists you couldn’t get enough of, artists you couldn’t ever understand, singers never seen before, singers never seen again. Speaking of which, what did happen to Joe Dolce after 'Shaddap You Face'?
When there were four TV stations (“Four? Luxury!” cry all those who grew up outside the capital cities) and half a dozen music stations (“What? More than one? Don’t believe you!” say all those who grew up outside the capital cities).
When you could see live music almost every night of the week at a pub or bar nearby (“Oh, look, now you’re trolling us,” say all those who grew up outside the capital cities) the world was small enough to be captured and close enough to mean everything.
Nothing will ever be like that again, for good and bad. We’ve all grown up some, technology means “local” is almost global, music doesn’t have to be filtered through a really narrow funnel of one man’s tastes or predilections, and you could drive for an hour in any direction from many suburbs and not see a venue putting on original music.
Which is why a concert on the northern side of the Opera House, not that far really from where a radio rival to the show, 2SM, once staged Rocktober concerts on the steps, is so perfect it could hurt.