NEWCASTLE turned on a stunning early autumn evening, matched by an equally stunning night of live music.
The Newcastle 500 Supercars concert made a triumphant return to Foreshore Park on Friday night for the first time since Cold Chisel and Delta Goodrem headlined the inaugural race in 2017.
After a brief move to No.1 Sportsground in 2018 with Scottish band Simple Minds, KISS' cancellation in 2019 and then the pandemic - Foreshore Park felt like an overdue homecoming for the concert.
Crowds gathered early in the evening, busking on the hillside in the setting western sun.
Others edged closer to the stage to reminisce in the '80s and '90s hit-laden sets from Icehouse, Jon Stevens and Newcastle's own pub-rock royalty The Screaming Jets.
Jets frontman Dave Gleeson was his cheeky self, wearing a t-shirt that read, "get your ya yas out" and adding new lyrics with references to China and political correctness in Eve Of Destruction.
The drum beat to signal Better brought a warm response. Is there a more Novocastrian tune than Better? Silverchair's Tomorrow, perhaps.
The Jets then ended the set with a raucous version of Helping Hand.
Jon Stevens then lifted the energy as he switched between Noiseworks classics like Touch, No Lies and Hot Chili Woman and INXS tunes.
Stevens fronted INXS for three years to 2003 following Michael Hutchence's death in 1997. While some might criticise Stevens for riding on someone else's coat tails, it was fantastic to hear those old INXS songs performed live.
New Sensation, What You Need, Never Tear Us Apart, Need You Tonight and Don't Change were delivered respectfully by the band, and while Stevens is no Hutchence (and frankly, who is), he's a more than capable substitute.
The Supercars crowd ate it up.
It was completely dark by the time Icehouse took the stage and the mood shifted.
The '80s new wave legends' chilling synth soundscapes created a more cerebral vibe. The singalongs weren't as frequent, but there was more worth listening to.
Unlike Gleeson and Stevens, Icehouse frontman Iva Davies is a more subdued performer. He allowed the complex music and video projections to dazzle the audience.
Uniform, Electric Blue and Crazy were early favourites, but other hits like Hey, Little Girl didn't capture the spirit of the original recording.
Davies has long ago shed his infamous permed mullet, but there were plenty among the crowd keeping the party down the back.
The two youngest members of Icehouse - Hugo Lee (keys, saxophone) and Michael Paynter (keys, guitar) were given ample opportunity to shine.
Paynter took the lead vocal on a transfixing rendition of Man Of Colours and shared the singing with Davies on the rocky Touch The Fire.
Meanwhile, Lee continually ripped into flamboyant sax solos.
Great Southern Land, easily Icehouse's most iconic song, was surprisingly flat from Davies and the audience, but it picked up again for the pop bliss of Can't Help Myself.
The veteran rockers turn it over to youth brigade on Saturday when The Hilltop Hoods, Thelma Plum, San Cisco and Trophy Eyes perform on night two of Supercars.
The debate it surely over. Foreshore Park is the ideal home for the Supercars concert.
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