"Concert for Max"
UPDATE ON MAX'S CONDITION
Max's medical conditioned is pretty much unchanged at this time and his dialysis treatment continues three times each week. The good news however is that since the Concert For Max fundraising efforts, his spirits have soared. "It is such a relief not to have to worry about how I can pay the bills. I can now pick up the phone or go to the mail box without fear of who is about to bring another wall crashing down on me", Max said, "But as much as anything, the knowing that people cared enough to donate their time, talent, service & money to help me out makes me feel loved ...... and that means the world to me right now."
CONCERT FOR MAX DVD ALMOST HERE...
Well ……. we are getting there! Since early November our Vision Director, Luke Raisbeck, has been editing the Concert For Max video and Sound Engineer Ernie Rose has re-mixed the audio and we now have a DVD that is truly an Australian Rock ‘n Roll triumph.
Instead of asking potential Recording Companies to sit through the entire three and a half hours of concert video we have edited a short promo to give them just a small taste of the quality of the vision and sound. While Ernie has mixed the concert in 5.1 what they will hear on this sample DVD is a stereo mix.
The concert featured 25 Australian Recording Artists, over 50 Musicians and more than 70 Crew and together they delivered 35 All Time Favorite Hits in one magical concert.
With such an extensive number of performers the Concert For Max was presented with two intermissions thereby splitting the show into three acts. Act #1 is by far the longest running well over an hour while Acts #2 & #3 run close to one hour each. The show has been edited in this format so will be a three DVD set.
The list of Artists and songs are as follows:
ACT # 1
SPECTRUM I’ll Be Gone
KEVIN BORICH Gonna See My Baby Tonight
DINAH LEE Reet Petite, Don’t You Know
WENDY STAPLETON & SWANEE Try A Little Tenderness
BRIAN MANNIX & PAUL NORTON Western Union Man
DOUG PARKINSON I’ll Be Around, Dear Prudence
NORMIE ROWE Poor Boy, Shakin All Over
MARCIE & THE COOKIES with NORMIE A Little Help From My Friends
GEORGE SMILOVICI Stand up comedy spot
THE DELLTONES Hangin’ Five, Mr. Bassman
ACT # 2
WILBUR WILDE & MICHAEL CHRISTIAN Local Hero
RUSSELL MORRIS The Real Thing, Hush
JAMES REYNE Reckless, Downhearted
DARYL BRAITHWAITE Howzat, Horses
VANESSA AMOROSI Piece Of My Heart
GEORGE SMILOVICI Stand up comedy spot
JOE CAMILLERI & THE BLACK SORROWS Shape I’m In, Soul Man
ACT # 3
PETER CUPPLES Slippin’ Away
JON ENGLISH Turn The Page, Tempted
MIKE BRADY Up There For Maxie
ROSS WILSON Come Back Again, Cool World
ROSS WILSON & RENEE GEYER Touch Of Paradise, Fannie Mae
JOHN PAUL YOUNG I Hate The Music,Yesterday’s Hero
FINALE Long Way To The Top
At this time we have final clearance from all artists other than Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows and John Paul Young. Both of their Managers have asked to see their artists’ performances and I have now run off dubs and sent copies to both of them.
I firmly believe that both Joe & JPY will be delighted with what they see and will grant us permission to include them in the DVD.
In addition, we intend to include two other ‘Features’ as extras for the package.
1) Recorded messages of support from Michael Chugg, Mark Holden, Jimmy Keays, Gerry Marsden and Glenn Shorrock together with a thank you from Max Merritt.
2) Beautifully edited photographic ‘fly-on-the-wall’ stills taken by Allen Moore from the start of sound checks through to the after party.
With any luck, we will have the "CONCERT FOR MAX - THE BEST BENEFIT EVER..." out by Easter.
If you would like to register you interest in purchasing a copy of the DVD, please click 'contacting Max' and send through your expression of interest and we will be back in touch with you the moment we have a release date and price.
CONCERT FOR MAX - AN OUTSTANDING SUCCESS
On Sunday 21 October the who's who of the Australian Rock 'n Roll industry came together to raise some much needed financial relief for their mate, Max Merritt. Max had fallen on hard times since suffering kidney failure in April.
Max Merritt's Manager, Wal Bishop said "it has been said before, if I am the smartest person in the room, I'm in the wrong room. On Sunday night I was in the right room". Over 150 people were involved in the Concert For Max including feature artists, musicians, riggers, loaders, technical crew, cameramen, directors, wranglers, stage hands, caterers, security, drivers, runners, merchandise sellers and raffle ticket sellers. Over and above that there were an endless number of goods and services donated including Audio, Lighting, Backline, Stage and Video. Even the venue was donated.
It is expected that, including donations, merchandise, raffle & auction and the net box office , the end result will be somewhere above $200,000.00.
It is hard to cover the show but let us try:
* The show opened with a pre-recorded overture of "Slippin' Away" magnificently produced and recorded by Peter Sullivan. Playing along with the track was Percussionist Alejandro Vega who would remain on stage for almost the entire concert. As the track softened to a soft drone, the voice of Mike Rudd filled the theatre with a heart-wrenching solo vocal rendition of "I'll Be Gone" the words 'Someday I'll have money, money isn't easy come by, by the time it's come by, I'll be gone .... I'll sing my song and I'll be gone' took on a brand new meaning.
* The Palais Theatre resonated as the 'Voice Of God' (Gary Mac) announced 'Ladies and gentleman, welcome, to the concert for Max' ...... and the show was away.
* The moment the opening announcement finished, the anthematic mouth harp of Spectrum heralded that this was Oz Rock at it's best and the audience erupted.
* To allow for a rapid change over, the giant video screen at the rear of the stage was used to show a prerecorded message to Max from Mark Holden.
* Kevin Borich, together with Glenn Suckling on bass and Chris Barton on drums kept things moving with an extended guitar introduction that showed why he is regarded as one on the country's most respected players. After wowing the audience with his wailing solo he moved to the microphone to let rip the 'La De Dahs' hit 'Gonna See My Baby Tonight'.
* Jimmie Sloggett, David Beanlands and Tony Naylor joined Glenn and Chris to provide backing music for Dinah Lee. At the same time Lindsay Field, Lisa Bray and Ron Martini took up position to join in with the most wonderful backing vocals and they were there to stay for the night. Dinah opened with her monster hit 'Don't You Know, Yokomo'. With the band well rehearsed they went to move slickly into Dinah's second song only to be asked by her to 'Hold on ... give a girl a go'. Dinah than spoke lovingly about her long association with Max before cranking up "Reet Petite'.
* Peter Foley (trombone) David Cochrane-Lane (Trumpet) and Phil Milbeck (Baritone) joined Jimmie Sloggett to expand the horn section and it was time to introduce Wendy Stapleton and John 'Swanee' Swan who vocally saluted Max Merritt with their rendition of "Try A Little Tenderness".
* Max's chart topper "Western Union Man" followed, performed by former Uncanny X-Men front man Brian Mannix and Paul Norton and they did it proud.
* The fans were then treated to a jaw dropping performance by Doug Parkinson and he has NEVER sounded better. His vocal rendition of "I'll Be Around" and "Dear Prudence" had the audience mesmerized.
* The screen came to life again with a message from Max's long time friend Michael Chugg who relived the first time he saw Max Merritt perform and how it had changed Chuggie's life forever.
* Jo Imbroll took over on bass, David Hicks on drums and guitarist Sam See joined the on stage band to back Normie Rowe. Normie brained the crowd with 'Poor Boy' as his opening song. He was joined by Marcie & The Cookies, then Normie and Marcie spoke jointly about Max and launched into "A Little Help From My Friends"and the audience was teated to something truly unique. Normie finished his set with "Shakin' All Over" and had everybody in raptures.
* Comedian George Smilovici took to the stage and had the audience roaring with laughter in an instant. His spot was overly short but he handled it with ease proving that he is indeed a true professional in every sense of the word.
* George's performance allowed for a full change over between the Meteors and the next act, and what an act. Resplendent in leopard skin lapelled baby blue suits, The Delltones showed why they have been held in high esteem for almost 50 years by performing their ground breaking songs "Hangin' Five" and "Mr Bassman"
* The show was already 75 minutes old .... and it was intermission.
* After what was to be the first of two intermissions, the spot lights picked up Wilbur Wilde on sax and Michael Christian on guitar who wowed every single person in the theatre with the theme from 'Local Hero' and it could not have been played better by anyone else on the planet.
* The 'house band' changed again and we could now see Stewart Wilkinson on keyboards and Ron Peers, Gary Young and Bob Starkie on guitar .... so many guitar players and so little time. We now had two drummers, David Hicks on the right handed kit and John 'Watto' Watson on the left handed kit and everyone knew that all hell was about to break loose.
* Russell Morris must have been over the moon when he launched into "Hush" and "The Real Thing" and he took the audience along for the ride with him, it was a journey both the crowd and the band will remember forever and it is doubtful that both drummers will ever stop smiling.
* A video message to Max from Glenn Shorrock allowed the band to sneak off the stage in the cover of darkness.
* James Reyne cut a lonely figure on stage with not a drummer or bass player in sight but when he offered up an acoustic rendition of his mega-hit "Reckless" then was joined by Brett & Tracey Kingman and Andy McGivor for "Downhearted" he had the crowd eating out of his hand.
* Before the audience knew it, the full band was back on stage to back Daryl Braithwaite as he belted out the Sherbet chart topper "Howzat". Encouraged by the road crew, Daryl dismantled the mic-stand to present his signature tune "Horses".
* The most wonderful video message from Jimmy Keays drew applause from everybody, so much so that the first part of his message was missed by anybody that was not a lip-reader.
* It had been intended to go straight in to Vanessa Amorosi but at the last moment this slip of a girl asked if she would be allowed to speak before she sang. Vanessa spoke of how as a small child she had heard "Slippin' Away" and to this day it remained one of her favorite songs. When she broke into song, her interpretation of the classic "Piece Of My Heart" was an absolute show stopper drawing rousing applause from both the audience and fellow performers side stage. Solos taken by Jimmie Sloggett and Kevin Borich added to the highlight.
* Once again George Smilovici took to the stage and just took over from where he left off an hour before, it is a rare ability indeed to be able to grab the attention of the audience in this fashion.
* Yes, the band had changed yet again and the voice over asked that they please welcome on stage Joe Camilleri and the Black Sorrows. What a wonderful act, the feels and songs are an indelible trademark to a legion of fans. If the crowd thought the treatment of "Soul Man" with the horn section expanding the Sorrows was special they were taken to dizzy heights when Joe invited Max's long time tenor player to take front and center in what was to become a three sax, Jimmie, Joe & Wilbur blow out.
* It was time for the second intermission and the audience went to the candy bar wishing that the three way sax solo had never ended.
* The third and final act opened with a video recorded in 2002 by Billy Thorpe and the audience gasped, clapped and listened as Billy laughed about the subject matter of Max's biggest hit.
* Without any introduction Peter Cupples started picking his guitar and singing the unmistakable opening lines of "Slippin' Away", naturally the Meteors backed him but things were different this time. Peter had never intended to emulate Max Merritt's rendition of the song but instead chose to treat it with the reverence and respect that he felt it deserved, much in the same way John Farnham had treated the Beatles "Help". Peter is to be congratulated on his performance, he did himself, Max and "Slippin' Away" a great service.
* Peter invited Jon English to join him on stage and together they performed Jon's killer song "Turn The Page" and what a great job they did. Jon had a hit overseas with "Tempted" a song penned by Max Merritt and he chose this above his own hits as his second song, and the Meteors were obviously so pleased he did, it cooked along.
* Another video showed Gerry Marsden from Gerry & The Pacemakers telling how fondly he remembered the radio playing "Slippin' Away" constantly throughout his mid 70s Australian and New Zealand tours and wished "he had written the bloody thing".
* Yet another band change and from the back of the set ambled Mike Brady. The moment they spotted Mike, everyone expected him to break into his record breaking hit "Up There Cazaly" and they were not disappointed .... however, they were not ready for the lyric change to "Up There For Maxie, In there and fight, up there and at 'em, show 'em your might" ... and they all joined in.
* Is was time to draw the raffle and eight lucky winners walked away with over $8,000.00 in prizes. A donated guitar autographed by all the featured artists was offered as an auction item, The bidding started at $500.00 and moved rapidly to $5,000.00 and it looked like it was about to be knocked down then the unbelievable happened. Another bid came from the back of the theatre and in what could only be described as a slugfest two wonderful bidders went blow-for-blow, bid-for-bid until the guitar was handed over having reached $10,000.00 .... and every red cent was for Max.
* On with the show .... The identifiable hook guitar intro of "Come Back Again" left no-one in any doubt that the next act was Ross 'The Boss' Wilson. The Daddy Cool hit was followed by the Mondo Rock masterpiece "Cool World." Just when everyone thought it doesn't get any better than this Ross Wilson invited Renee Geyer to join him on stage and together they paid tribute to Max and sang "Touch Of Paradise' and Max's "Fannie Mae." and blew the socks off everybody.
* It was time for one last band change and to give the magnificent crew the opportunity to do so, a video message from Max Merritt filled the screen and silenced the audience. Looking a little puffy. Max spoke well reading from a script that he had obviously prepared to get him through.
* The bouncing beat provided by Pig Morgan, Ian Miller, Johnny Dick, China Walker, Ron Peal and Phil Manning could only mean that "Love Is In The Air" and John Paul Young hit the stage to wow the audience with "Love", "I Hate The Music" and "Yesterday's Hero" and it was all but over.
* Kevin Borich cranked up his guitar, started that well worn AC/DC riff and confirmed yet again that "It's A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock 'n Roll" Everybody joined in, Swanee took the first verse and chorus and Vanessa took the second. When the horn section took the bagpipes line, the stage was flooded with confetti fired from four air cannons.
It was all done and dusted, followed by an after party at the Riva Bar & Restaurant for the artists and musicians. The drivers shuttled the performers to the party while the crew de-rigged tons of gear and filled truck after truck after truck. Many of the crew have never met or even worked with Max Merritt but they gave their time purely because they work in an industry that looks after their own.
Catering for an army of this size is a costly exercise .... it was all donated by Blakes Feast and Backdoor and everyone was well looked after.
Everyone had played their part all revelling in the knowledge they had presented a wonderful show and in the process, together with donations, raffle, auction and merchandise sales had raised over $200,000.00 for Max.
21 October 2007
"Concert for Max"
Roll of Renown
On behalf of Max Merritt we are thrilled to acknowledge the generous support and dontions from the following:
|Davies Family Foundation||Jeanne & Richard Pratt|
|Delvine Delany & John Cornell||Graham Woodlock|
|Frontier Touring||Premier Artists|
|Michael Chugg||Chugg Entertainment|
|Andrew McManus Presents||Support Act Ltd|
|Bluesfest Byron Bay||Liz & Mike Anderson|
|Crete Interiors||R. N. McGrath|
|Allan Johnston Family Trust||Heartland Advertising & Ideas|
|P R & R A Clarke||David Steindl Production|
|Clax Productions||John Arnold|
|Carolyn Dunne||Shiny Stars Pty Ltd|
|Hopedell Pty Ltd||Francis Allen|
|True Blue Communication||Douglas & Helen Watson|
|Sandra Wheatley||David Flint|
|Brian Kelly||Joan Barter|
Goods and Services Donated by:
|Palais Theatre / Neil Croker /Adrian Smith / Erin McMahon|
|McLean Audio||Phaseshift Lighting|
|Audio Visual Dynamics||AVFX|
|Hide & Seek||Natwide Management Group|
|Visible Ink||New Breed Security|
|Blakes Feast Catering||Backdoor Catering|
|Riva Bar & Restaurant||Howling Wolves Wine Group|
|Gage Roads Beer||Schweppes Soft Drinks & Water|
|Billy Hyde Stage Systems||Pro Stage|
|Gold 104||Herald Sun|
|The Music Network||Inpress|
|Rockposters||ASAP Printing & Mick Dwyer|
|Tee Shirt Graphics||Plakkit Posters|
|Pioneer Electronics||Peter Bloomfield/McKenzie Ross|
|Pioneer Electronics||KMW Productions/Chris O'Brien|
|Ticketmaster||Ramada Plaza West Hollywood|
|Ian B Allen||Lawrie Masterson|
|Danny Bishop||Enza Pantano|
|Lionel Midford||Julie Cavanagh|
|Avis Rent-A-Car||Gary Mac|
|iDentity Australia||Antler World Class Luggage|
|Illusions Australia||Peter Sullivan|
Kevin Borich Mike Brady
Daryl Braithwaite Peter Cupples
Joe Camilleri & The Black Sorrows
Renee Geyer Dinah Lee
Marcie & The Cookies
John Paul Young
Musicians - With still more to come.
Warren 'Pig' Morgan
Production Crew - with more to follow
Mark 'Tassy' Hayes
Alex ‘The Seal’ Saad
Mark “Mumbles’ Hill
Our thanks go out to everyone who have currently offered
their services, without you, this will not be possible.