Jet @ Twilight At Taronga
It takes a special kind of band to stand the test of time.
These days new music is churned out left, right and centre so it’s a risky move for a standard rock band like Jet to take a five year break, then magically reappear for a series of shows that serve no real purpose but to fulfil everyone’s wildest nostalgic dreams.
To be fair, Jet aren’t just a standard rock band. In fact, they were one of Australia’s most successful early ‘00s groups, which saw them clean up six ARIAs in 2004, sell more than 6.5 million albums globally and go 10x platinum. And all because of their 2003 debut album Get Born. The band went from strength to strength, selling out headline shows and supporting the likes of Green Day and Powderfinger, before strangely breaking up in 2012. Flash forward to 2017 and we’ve got the even stranger re-formation of Jet for a handful of Bruce Springsteen support slots and two headline shows at Taronga Zoo.
Each year Twilight at Taronga presents a boutique concert experience during the latter part of summer, neatly wrapped in animal enclosures and laced with Sydney Harbour’s picturesque skyline. It’s the kind of relaxed environment that sees most people leisurely sprawled on the grass, hampers aplenty and none of that usual gig-going rowdiness. Between punctual set times (a rare miracle) and welcoming staff, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most loved and seamlessly ran concert series in Sydney.
Thursday night was entirely sold out, unsurprising when you remember that it’s the rock n roll band’s first Sydney show in seven years. At exactly eight o’clock, Jet sauntered out on stage like seasoned pros and it seemed clear that performing must be like riding a bike: you learn it, you master it, then it becomes second nature for the rest of your life. Kicking off with ‘Get What You Need’ and ‘She’s A Genius’ immediately got bodies moving, before diving into a slightly more subdued ‘Skin And Bones.’
The next hour and a half were exactly what you would expect from a quintessential rock band: a tight live performance, huge stadium quality sound, and riffs for days. All the notable singles (‘Shine On’, ‘Look What You’ve Done’, ‘Rollover DJ’) made an appearance and ensured mass crowd singalongs in a way that can only come through age.
There were a few wildcard moments in the night, namely frontman Nic Cester admitting he didn’t know the band were going to be here until three months ago, and later pulling up a very excited girl by the name of Andrea onto the stage to dance around with a tambourine for ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl?’ This song, followed by ‘Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is’ and ‘Rip It Up’ marked the Dingley-originating band hitting their stride. Their presence felt comfortable, they interacted with the pulsing crowd well and Cester’s vocals shredded.
‘Cold Hard Bitch’ and ‘Lazy Gun’ closed the night with a bang, and there was no encore despite deafening chants of “one. more. song!”
Jet’s comeback show was by no means anything ground-breaking – but it didn’t have to be. Half the band’s appeal comes from straight up and down no frills rock, and the other half comes from nostalgia of an act that played soundtrack to so many lives all those years ago. This show served its purpose in both ways, connecting fans of all ages and creating memories that will last as long as their music does.