The Aftermath

I wish my camera hadn’t run out of batteries.

A zoomed-in image of the Bronze Bon was beamed up onto the big screens to either side of the stage. Every so often, some brave youth would do a runner, hop the barrier, and climb up to have his photo taken with the little metal man. Normally, a brazen act like this would have spelled violent eviction for the trespasser. But such was the holy nature of this moment that the bouncers simply smiled beneficently, and gently guided the little rascal back onto the grass.

The trampled grass exhaled some kind of steam. The area in front of the stage was thick with crushed UDL cans, broken sunglasses, lost thongs, cigarette butts, muddy baseball caps, and torn plastic bags. Arm in arm, contented and love-sick, with ears ringing, some of us still humming to the tunes in our heads, the crowd began to shuffle and stumble through this dense swamp of garbage towards the exit.

From out of nowhere Simmo appeared. He was on a high, having just met his friend Kenny who he hadn’t seen for 22 years. Another of Simmo’s friends offered me a cigar. I didn’t ask why. I just took the cigar, still in its plastic wrapper, and put it into my pocket.

Bill called my mobile. “Get yourself down to the Esplanade, mate! That’s where the after-party is happening!” He was in the VIP tent, and it was still pumping in there.

Mish and I parted ways, whisked away by opposite trains. The carriage was full to capacity with neatly seated, well-behaved, black-shirted fans. Again I wished for a fresh camera battery. Only the kids, mainly 10 year old girls, up way past their bedtime, were swinging from the handrails.

By the time the train pulled into Freo, Bill was already there. “Where the hell are you man?” he screeched down the line. I had missed the Esplanade party, it was all moving to Cicerello’s now.

I crossed the tracks and found Ashley sitting patiently next to a very drunk Bill and an equally sozzled Mark Evans on a small barge tied to the wharf. Bill’s exhausted brother Graham was there too, looking like he might nod off any minute. Wheelie bins filled with ice were being loaded with beer. A handful of celebrity rockers were wandering around, some more upright than others.

One celebrity rocker who still looked sharp was Dave Evans. He was sitting at a table across from us, drinking a can of lemon Solo. Dave’s getup was somewhat anachronistic: leather pants, high heeled boots, and frizzed-up long hair held back with a red headband.

Here’s a picture of Dave I found on the net. And here’s a picture I took of Dave on stage, earlier in the night before my battery died:

dave evans

I mentioned to Bill that I had been impressed with Dave’s singing. Dave had performed the final set of Bon-era AC/DC songs while the statue was being unveiled, and I thought he did a great job. Bill frowned. He was unconvinced, but was perhaps not coherent enough by this time of the night to say why. Ashley leaned over and whispered, “Dad disnae like Dave – he thinks he’s a right poof!”

To give a bit of context to this exchange: Dave Evans (no relation to Mark Evans) was the first singer in AC/DC, in the 1974-5 period. He got the sack when Bon was hired. One reason he was booted out was that he was supposedly too “glam” for the band. And in a way, he still is. With his shiny pants and big hair, he looks more like someone out of Spinal Tap than your average working-class Aussie rock vocalist.

I suppose it’s this flashy style that leaves him open to criticism like Bill’s. But I thought it was very gracious of him to come back and pay homage, given that he is still best known as “the singer who got fired to make way for the great Bon Scott”.

When the moment was right, Ashley and I caught Dave’s eye, and asked if we could pose for a photo with him. He was more than happy to oblige. Ashley snapped away while I asked him what he’s been up to since 1975. “Oh, I live in Texas now,” he said.

Dave is a very confident man. Perhaps its a symptom of living in Texas. Or perhaps in that southern state he’s found his spiritual home. Whatever the case, everything with Dave is BIG. It’s hard to accurately render a conversation with him in typewritten text. The closest I can get is to use CAPITAL LETTERS a lot to portray the enthusiasm and emphasis in his speech.

Dave told me he has a GREAT new album just out, but it’s only available in Europe and America. You have to order it in from Amazon. “If you liked what you saw on stage tonight, I GUARANTEE you’re gonna LOVE the new album!” he enthused. “In fact, I’m gonna say the following. This is what I’ve been telling people lately: go onto Amazon and buy the new album. I am so sure that you’re going to LOVE this new album of mine, that if you don’t absolutely fucking love it, and I mean LOVE it… get in touch with me, and I will personally give you your money back.”

To date, nobody has asked for their money back.

I asked how Dave managed to sing so well after all this time. It’s been 33 years since he warbled for AC/DC, and yet he’s still got it. “Ah, well, you see, I take care of myself. I run, I swim, I cycle. All this cardiovascular exercise, you see, keeps my lungs in good shape. And I don’t drink too much,” he winked, pointing to his can of lemon Solo. “If you can keep your lungs healthy, and your body in good shape: that’s the secret. That’s what keeps me on top; and not doing that is what makes all those other guys out there sound like shit.”

Bill and Graham were certainly sounding like shit by this time. It must have been well after two in the morning, and they were arm in arm, jumping up and down on the spot, chanting something that sounded like:

“BOUNCY-BOUNCY-BOUNCY! BOUNCY-BOUNCY-BOUNCY-BOUNCY!! IF YE CANNAE DO THE BOUNCY YER AN ASH !!”

I had no idea what this could have meant, except that it was probably time for bed.

But before I left, I had one last person to meet. Mary Renshaw was sitting quietly by herself, and she beckoned me over. She asked how my project was going. I told her I had had the most amazing time tonight. I’d been in Freo for only 6 days, but it seemed like a Bon Scott eternity. I’ve come a long way.

I showed Mary my custom singlet with Hana’s drawing of Bon’s crotch and face. “Wow”, she said, “your friend has really captured him. However, if I may be so bold, I think I would just make one suggestion. His eyebrows are a bit too bushy.”

I offered to walk Mary home. Her hotel was only across the park, but by the time we were ready to leave, we had assembled a small entourage, lurching awkwardly off the boat and through the railway crossing. One tall fellow with a ruddy face and curly blond hair kept amusing himself with the following exclamations:

“Imagine! Bon probably walked across these exact railway tracks!
and
“Fuck! I would bet you Bon pissed on this exact tree here once.”

He introduced himself as “Stevo”. He said, “I’m the biggest fan ever. I’ve got such a big collection of Bon Scott stuff, that I’ve even got a journalist coming to visit me next Tuesday!”

Stevo on Tuesday. Stevo on Tuesday. That rang a bell. I thought about this for a moment.

That “journalist” is me!

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