50 Years Ago-Pranks and Memories
In 1968, I went on my second summer tour with the Young Americans,
The Royal Easter Show in Sydney was the first 2 weeks of a 3 month tour.
It's like a state fair for all of New South Wales.
They put us in the middle of a polo field that held 80,000 people and the closest audience was 80 yards away. (they didn't have giant screens back in '68)
This meant the audience couldn't likely see crisp detail. We were performing on a round piece of plywood about 40 feet in diameter sitting right on the turf.
It was pouring rain our first day and we were getting soaked. If you touched your lips on the mike you got a stiff jolt.
We were doing our best considering and, some songs required us to sit down just inside the outer perimeter of the plywood circle (It was painted fancy) which put us within arms reach of the turf.
Well, they couldn't clean every bit of horse manure off the field and it began being discreetly tossed towards one another around the circle.
The 25 piece orchestra was in the rain that first day too, and our music got wet. I don't know if you've seen large form sheet music in a pro situation but the sheets are 11 x 17 and connected with cloth tape, sometime 30-40 sheets for each number. That meant one piece the music was 40 feet long when spread out and there were 25 musicians.
The damp music had to be spread out in the stables overnight to dry out.
The next day, they pulled a semi truck out onto the field. They had cut out the entire side of the semi trailer so the orchestra couldn't get wet. That solved the wet music problem, but didn't help us.
We had a number where the girls wore straw hats and one of the guys had smeared limburger cheese in the rim of their hats. When they put those hats on during the number, they got a spur look on their faces. Now, I don't know if you've ever smelled limburger cheese but I don't suggest it to settle your stomach.
I met an Australian girl (Elizabeth Jones) in those two weeks and we enjoyed each others company. She would borrow her brothers Austin Mini and she'd let me drive. It's like London. The steering wheel is on the right, the shift was on the left, you drive on the other side of the street. I hit a silent cop my first attempt. It was fun driving around in another country
We drove to the big bridge base on the opera house side of the harbor to see the Opera House from that vantage point. (see red arrow)
Seeing the harbor webcam last night brought back these memories.
I recall taking her to a restaurant for surf and turf and dinner was $1.65 US each. A bottle of wine a couple bucks. Back then, the dollar went a long ways in the other economies we visited.
Good memories and the best part is, I don't recall smoking at all.