After almost 30 years in the music industry, playing with some of the greatest musicians in recent history, Australian artist and performer Simon Gardner is bringing classic rock back to the masses.
Fresh off his role as the musical director in the Mel Evans'-helmed musical 'Good Morning Vietnam: Music From The Vietnam War Era, Live In Concert!', Gardner is ready to hit the stage again for his newest venture: Simon Gardner's Big Stadium Rock Show.
Set to showcase a host of classic '80s and '90s tunes from bands such as Aerosmith, KISS, Van Halen, Motley Crue, Def Leppard and Ozzy Osbourne, Gardner and his group will breathe life back into an era that's been left to the archives of music history.
It's not a tribute show, though; it's a celebration of the many legends who have shaped the genre and made music into what it is today. Any avid listener of popular music can trace the lineage through the ages.
When Gardner first heard Led Zeppelin's 'Black Dog' aged 14, he was floored and compelled by the artistry of the music, an experience surpassed only by Van Halen's debut album three years later.
"Rock is something that resonates with me. I love that energy and the magic that it brings," Simon says.
Joining him onstage for the Big Stadium Rock Show include people he's worked with for years: vocalists Tara Graham, Shaleena Bain, and Dellacoma Rio, with Tommy Hynes on bass, and Jim Cowling on drums.
When selecting who to work with to bring such a spectacle to life, Gardner says it comes down to people he can get along with and spend time with.
He's worked with Hynes for almost 20 years; for Gardner, it's about friendship, trust, growth and improvement. "I guess I feel really lucky to have found them," Simon says.
"The key element when you're putting a band together is to create a team who rely on each other and want the same outcome, and to put on a show that blows people away."
Boding well for Gardner's audience, what inspires him most about rock and metal bands is there needs to be a high level of expertise to execute the music.
According to Simon, the music can't be sloppy. A rock performer needs to have humility to honour the music and nail all the non-negotiable parts. Gardner also understands the importance of influences and the history that comes with them.
After working with Mel Evans on 'Good Morning Vietnam' – a guitar-driven, prototypical rock musical – Gardner and Evans have brought that energy to his new show.
"Early blues artists – Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, We Three Kings – without any blues, you don't have any rock & roll," Gardner says. "That just all adds to the lineage of rock music and guitar. You won't have any metal unless you've got the blues."
Big Stadium Rock Show is not only a celebration, but a chance for lovers of '80s and '90s rock to relive one of the greatest eras of music.
The legacy of classic rock is a universe, and for Gardner what hooked him from the beginning was the drama, the masculinity, the volume, and the loud guitars.
What matters is feeling and experiencing something visceral through music. Like any performance, and any cover, the artist needs to honour the source material to bring an electrifying experience for the audience.
Simon Gardner's Big Stadium Rock Show has a run of South East Queensland dates set for early to mid October. While there's uncertainty of whether they can bring the show to other states and countries given current travel restrictions, one thing is for certain – every time they perform, it feels like the first time; it feels like the very first time.
Simon Gardner's Big Stadium Rock Show 2021 Tour Dates
Sat 2 Oct - Twelfth Night Theatre (Brisbane)Fri 8 Oct - Events Centre Caloundra (Sunshine Coast)Sat 9 Oct - Ipswich Civic Centre (Ipswich)Fri 15 Oct - The Brolga (Maryborough)Sat 16 Oct - The J Noosa (Sunshine Coast)