“When was the last time you went to an open-air concert?”, my friend asked me as we stood, waiting in the crowd/rain for Mumford & Sons to come on stage at Sydney’s Domain tonight.

Though not strictly in the moshpit, we had found a place not far from there, close to the mixing desk which, my radio/audio background, told me was one of the best places to go for a concert. Mixing desk, and all.

Though we COULD have gone to the show from 1.00pm, and COULD have experienced all of the preview acts, we decided not to. It was the combination of poor weather in Sydney today, and the fact we’re both around fifty years old.

It turns out the last time Sue had been to an open-air concert was to see Dire Straits. “At QE2 Stadium in Brisbane in 1985?”, I asked her which, co-incidentally was the first ever open-air concert I attended. It turns out it was a more recent appearance by Dire Straits, and although she couldn’t remember what year it was, or if it was Sydney or Canberra, she remembered it rained.

For me, the most recent open-air concert was Stockholm Pride in July this year. The headline act of the night was Eurovision 2015 winner, Måns Zelmerlöw. I took some really great photographs that night, mostly because I discovered the best spot to stand at a Swedish pop concert is right behind the people in wheelchairs. Yes, I know that sounds callous, slightly opportunistic, but the Swedes are really great when it comes to ensuring people in wheelchairs have good locations at pop concerts. As it happens, I was standing next to a couple of Swedish newspaper photographers who also obviously knew “the secret”.

“Let’s go and stand behind those teenage girls”, I said tonight. We stayed there for about 45 minutes to an hour, until we finally got a little sick on the late teens/early twenties pushing their way through, stollies in hand. One of the best decisions we could have made, though later in the show we couldn’t help but feel some admiration for some of them. As we looked up at the big screen, we noticed a group of four or five girls who had been particularly offensive as they pushed their way through, had managed to make it all the way to the front, and will no doubt have a starring role in the Mumford & Sons concert DVD.

I really like Mumford & Sons. Though “I Can’t Wait” is probably my favourite song of theirs, “Little Iron Man” is also a great number. In particular, I love the appearance of banjos and mandolins in their music. What was really clear from tonight’s show was what great musicians they are, effortlessly (it seemed) going from one instrument to another. And though they did a lot of songs from their latest album, they didn’t disappoint the crowd by failing to play their “hits”. They played for about 100 minutes. They were also at pains to point out on a number of occasions how important Australia had been to their success.

Though it would have been fun to have spent longer nearer to the stage, and to have seen them closer (and not just on the video stage) it was still lots and lots of fun, despite the weather, the mud, and the teens/early twenties pushing their way through. We weren’t the oldest people there, but close…

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