Who remembers the 90s? Well I do, in parts anyway, and in one of those parts I remember listening to a band called Fuel and their album called Sunburn. Fuel are in-fact playing tonight in my hometown of Sydney at the Manning Bar as part of “The Sunburn 20th Celebration Tour” and I cannot wait to re-live every thumping bass note, wailing guitar lick, and pounding drum beat from an album that produced four sensational hits.
The last time Fuel toured our shores it was the year 2000 and they played the Metro, now I wasn’t present at that show but I know a special little lady that was and still to this day she holds on to her tour shirt as a memento of a concert she claims was unforgettable. This is the type of quintessential loyal fan base Fuel has and tonight it is evident as I stand in a packed Manning Bar and notice no tour shirts for sale as they have already sold out.
The show opens with the albums intro song ‘Untitled‘ it is a heavy-tempo, in-your-face romp that showcases lead singer Brett Scallions distinct vocals and helps warm up his voice for the next song ‘Jesus Or a Gun‘, it gets the crowd excited and quite vocal. They mixed the album playlist up a bit and give lead guitarist Jason Womack a chance to show just what he is capable of as he plays some cool bluesy rhythm guitar for our listening pleasure, the sound seems like a natural fit amongst all the hard rock the album is known for.
Album shows go a couple of ways and Fuel had already mixed up the natural album order but I wasn’t prepared for the delivery of the next three songs that were ‘Sunburn‘ followed by ‘Shimmer‘, which of course was the highlight of the set as the crowd displayed what glorious singing voices we all have and sang it so loud with so much love in our hearts. Then followed ‘Bittersweet‘, and that made for all four of the album’s hits. There was still more music to come as they closed out the set with ‘Ozone‘, a song Brett admits he hadn’t listened to in some time and has now found a new love for it again after all these years. Then just as it is on the album so it is for the set list ‘Hideaway‘ sees both Brett and Jason leave us with some dazzling guitar work, the crowd cheer and whistle in appreciation.
Some clapping and chanting get the band back out on stage, they congratulate Australia in passing the Yes vote and lead us into the encore with ‘Bad Day‘. Now that we have LGBTI marriage rights legalised, it is time Brett comments, that we legalise weed and invites us to come smoke anytime with him at his home in California and dedicates the next track to all us pot smokers, a cover of the late Tom Petty’s ‘Mary’s Jane Last Dance’. Well it has been one hell of a good time tonight but all good things must come to an end and tonight that end comes in the form of the band’s anthem ‘Haemorrhage‘.
Tonight, Fuel continued to build upon their legacy of delivering an absolutely captivating performance, and whilst tonight’s show wasn’t fiery, or explosive with bodies flailing and sweat dripping from the ceiling, it was truly a solid hard rock show that everybody had a really fucking good time at. It has been so long since they were here last and they did promise to make it back sooner next time, but for now, don’t miss your opportunity to hear this classic album in all its glory.
Review – Chad