25 January 2012

Morning of the Earth - Live - Reviewed

Morning of the Earth could be the greatest surf movie ever made.  In fact it could just be the greatest movie ever made.  In fact the Oldfartsurfer thinks everything made in 1972 was the greatest thing ever made other than his custom Oceans 6'6" twin fin that was made in 1978. Morning of the Earth is also blessed with the greatest sound track ever recorded.  What a year to be 15 - Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers, CSNY Deja Vu, Neil Young's After the Goldrush, Who's Next, Jethro Tull, - how good was it back then!.    But this movie set the standard, it is,to quote the title song, "the measure of our lives".
For those who don't remember (brains fried) or who weren't there, this movie just showed surfers surfing and hanging out, no narration, just set to a sensational original sound track.  If you asked what the story was or "what was it all about" you'd missed the point.  The theme was "keep it simple", and, there were no leg ropes!  It moves from Australia, to Bali to Oahu with sensational surfing by some of the greatest ever oldfartsurfers including Terry Fitzgerald, Michael Peterson, Gerry Lopez, Rusty Miller and Nat Young.  The surfing is interspersed with local lifestyle scenes of rustic living in northern NSW, cockfights and even smoking weed in Bali.  Bazaar you might think, however, what makes all this work is the original soundtrack that complements the surfing and the feel of the film.
The Oldfartsurfer has two vinyl records and a CD of the soundtrack and it is also installed on his Ipod and IPhone.  When it came out on CD he put it straight in the car stereo and played it all the way home.  It was like meeting an old friend and reminiscing about the good old days.  Every note and sound was still perfectly in place. 
In this production, the movie is screened with live music and was first performed about a year ago but unfortunately the Oldfartsurfer missed it.  So when a second tour of performances was advertised a few months ago he was determined not to miss it again. It was put on the bucket list and the best tickets immediately purchased for the performance at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne.  Could this production live up to the standards set in 1972?
Arriving at the theatre the Oldfartsurfer noticed two distinct groups.  Firstly the oldfartsurfers, their wives and some of their offspring. Their average age would have put them older than 15 in 1972. Included in this group he would include some younger oldfartsurfers, perhaps they were 15 in 2002, however, he would still classify them as oldfartsurfers for just turning up.  The second group were four models, two male, two female, posing in cool Rip Curl and Billabong gear over some spotlessly painted and polished Sandman panel vans doing some media stunt.  Neither the models, the cars or the clothing companies were around around in 1972.
Given his predisposition to liking all things about the original Morning of the Earth, there was the potential for the Oldfartsurfer to be bitterly disappointed if things didn't quite measure up.  You will pleased to know that the show put a stupid grin on the Oldfartsurfers's face from beginning to end.  In fact he was almost tempted to break into song in a public place.  Thank Huey he didn't as the band and the singers managed to deliver on their end of the bargain.
Brian Cadd's voice may have been a little scratchy trying to reach a couple of the high notes on the first song and the descending orchestral riff was missing from the theme song, but overall, it was a great show.  They had edited the film a little and added some new footage of Dave Rastovich and Hannah, his mermaid missus, but listening to the music live while watching the big screen certainly gave a great experience.  Brian Cadd, Tim Gaze and Mike Rudd all performed their original songs and contemporary artists Lior and Gyan were wonderfully matched to deliver songs by G Wayne Thomas and others.
The highlight of the performance was when all the artists came on stage just before intermission to share verses of the two chord classic Simple Ben.  This was repeated in the encore for a good old singalong.
Attending Morning of the Earth, the Oldfartsurfer missed, what was reported to be the highlight of the Mona Foma Festival, when Brian Richie, the Dresden Dolls, Mike Harvey (of PJ) performed Violent Femmes songs.  Any regrets - no!
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