Getting the wild card was the easy part! Once I had that yellow card in my hot little hand it dawned on me that this was it!! This was the time for me to call on all those brain cells that held years of song lyrics, years of seemingly useless facts, years of riffs and notes and tunes. OMG.... I was going to have a crack at Rockwiz....!!
I have long been a fan of music – all types of music. From singing along to my mum and dad’s 8-track of “Hot August Night” in the Datsun 180B to recording hours and hours of music on cassette from the radio and then when we got our first VHS recorder as a teenager, to staying up all night (and day and night and day) with a gaggle of girls watching “Live Aid”, music has always played an important role in my life. I am not afraid to say that “Witcheta Lineman” and “Skinny Love” sit quite comfortably side by side on my ipod tracklist.... And I retain music facts (which is amazing because generally I can be a little ditzy) but I still know all the words to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five “The Message” and I know that Carole King and Gerry Goffin wrote “Pleasant Valley Sunday” just to name a few things.... Well here was the chance to put all that knowledge to the test.
The lights dim, the intro music starts and on comes Brian. What a professional! I have always loved his wit and humour and in this environment – LIVE – he is on fire. Keeping the laughs going and the crowd are loving it! Then he asks for everyone to check under their chairs for the remaining wildcards, but I already have mine so “whew” I am safe! In a moment, I am up to the right of the stage giving Dugald my name and then I am on the stage!
Round 1 of contestants and I hear my name called and I think “Holy crap! This is it”. I take my chair, say hi to the other two punters having a crack and living the dream and wish them luck (at least I hope I do), and then the questions start.... Buzz.... OMG, I think I just did that.... OMG now I have to answer..... OMG I answered..... OMG I was right!!
I know to the audience we all looked pretty cool (or maybe we didn’t??) but I can guarantee you all you can hope for is that all those hours and hours of music knowledge you just KNOW you have stored away come back to you somehow! Well apparently it did, when I was finished my heat the guys next to me said something like “you were great”.... I thanked him meekly because I knew the truth... I was shaking like a freaking leaf and don’t remember anything of what just happened!! :))
Four rounds down and now it’s time to see who were the 4 best of the best. And I say that because I am POSITIVE everyone who has a go on this show is a massive fan, so just being in the mix with people who truly love watching and being part of it was (is) AWESOME! The names are called and I am one of them.... OMG (again) that’s amazing!! And then all of a sudden I feel very calm. Like the hard bit was over and now the fun can begin.
We go backstage and meet the gang – the amazing Rockwiz orchestra (they truly are superb musicians and great blokes), we meet Brian and he is as warm and calming as I knew he would be. Then there is Julia... She greets each of us with a warm hug and we go over what is about to happen and who will be the contestants to do Karaoke and I get the job as one of them (now I had already apologised to the audience in my first round for my atrocious singing voice so I hope that still stands now I am about to do Karaoke!), but I love to sing (even badly) so I am up for the challenge. My duet partner – Rodwell – and I take off to the stairwell to practice with the amazing James Black, and I am relieved to hear that Rodwell can actually sing so that takes the pressure off a little “whew!”.
We grab a water then wait out turn to get on stage. All the backstage Rockwiz family are so wonderfully warm and lovely it definitely helps the nerves and when our time is called all I can think of is “Don’t trip on the stage”.... But I don’t, and in a moment I am there. Our wonderful guest artist is Jess Cornelius and we listen as she takes the stage and does her thing, she is brilliant!! And it strikes me how fantastic it is to be in this spot, the band, the artist, the brilliant Vika and Linda Bull.... WOW!
I have to say the time just flew, I think after the first round Gene, Jess and I were ahead, then after the 2nd round it was equal, but I knew I couldn’t worry about that because I still had to sing! Rodwell and I get up to do our thing and while I know I was flat as a proverbial tack Rodwell covered for me brilliantly, so I just moved, sang and moved move and hoped the audience were laughing with us :) I do have to say I had a heaps of fun though! In a moment it was over and we were in the prefect position to watch the professionals do their stuff. Seeing Doc Neeson whip the crowd into a frenzy, watching Bob Evans (Kevin Mitchell) do his thing was a highlight (I am a massive fan), hearing Joe Camilleri on the sax was just magic and then final number with them all was SO good I didn’t want it to end!
I would recommend the experience to ANYONE who wants a great night out with great people. The cast, the crew, the artists are all as amazing in reality as you want them to be. And I loved the fact the crowd was “my people”. It’s one thing we commented on as we waiting in the foyer before the show... We were amoungst “our people”. I have to give a special thanks to mate Kerry who travelled from Sydney with me to be at the show and who I had left sitting all alone in the crowd, while I got my ROCKWIZ EXPERIENCE... Thanks Kez!
Definitely got to check this off my bucket list and will be regaling this story to anyone who will listen for years to come!!!