Australia News: Pill Testing, U2, Regent Theater & More

Australian festivals are considering pill testing.
– Australian festivals are considering pill testing.

Pill Testing At Festivals Spreads To Three More States
With Australia’s summer festival season beginning, three more states are set to introduce pill-testing at music festivals. 
Only the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has allowed tests by the Pill Testing Australia organization over the past two years at the Canberra stop of Cattleyard Productions’ Groovin’ The Moo touring festival. It is expected a third test will take place when the festival lands in the city April 25 at Exhibition Park.
Earlier attempts by the ACT government to also hold try-outs at Kicks Entertainment’s Split Milk were thwarted as it is held at the government controlled Commonwealth Park, and the government opposes the testing. 
Spilt Music drew 20,000 Nov. 23. A report in the Sunday Canberra Times suggested strong support among its surveyed patrons for tests at the event and at all festivals.
The New South Wales (NSW) live sector will get its opportunity to make its case at the roundtable the NSW government will call before end of year. The government has previously resisted all calls for talks with the industry but a Nov. 13 vote in the Upper House after a debate initiated by the main opposite Labor Party saw a consultative process enshrined in the passing of the music licensing legislation.
In Victoria, the Greens and Reasons parties will table a co-sponsored bill, a move backed by Melbourne’s lord mayor Sally Capp. The Victorian Ambulance Union also announced its support, saying pills discarded by patrons after tests could be re-analysed by independent chemists and warnings posted via social media and text message of their toxicity to other music events. Costs would be shared by promoter and government. The union says this would free up ambulance staff for other emergencies.
In Tasmania, Party In The Paddock offered to hold trials at its Feb. 6-8 event. “Pill testing is not a silver bullet, but it’s a proven and positive way to help prevent …tragedy,” promoter Jesse Higgs said. The state’s Greens party called on the Tasmanian government to support the call.
U2 Remembers Michael Hutchence In Sydney On Death Anniversary
U2 paid tribute to two late friends during The Joshua Tree tour Down Under. 
The first of two Sydney Cricket Grounds shows on Nov. 22 marked the 22nd death anniversary of INXS singer Michael Hutchence. U2 and INXS were close friends, and their singers were neighbors in the south of France. 
During “Bad”, they threw in a snippet of INXS’s “Never Tear Us Apart”. Hutchence’s image flashed on the screens during “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” which U2 wrote about the singer following his death in 1997.
In New Zealand they revisited the One Tree Hill volcanic peak in memory of local man Greg Carroll. They met him during The Unforgettable Fire Tour in 1984 and he’d taken them there on their first day in the country. Bono invited him back to Dublin as his assistant. 
Carroll died July 1986 in a motorcycle accident in Dublin, and Bono wrote “One Tree Hill” for him on The Joshua Tree album. At the show they screened a photo of Carroll before they played the song at Mt. Smart Stadium.

The Regent Theater in Melbourne, Australia
– The Regent Theater in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne’s Regent Theater Re-Opening
Melbourne’s Regent Theatre re-opens January 2020 after a A$19.4 million (US$13.16 million) refurbishment that took almost four years. It relaunches with War Horse, followed by Billy Elliot The Musical. 
Renovations to the Regent – which opened March 1929 – include new seating, an extension of the Dress Circle balcony, upgraded bars and foyers, and restoration of the ornate plasterwork and crystal chandelier in the auditorium.  
Jason Marriner, CEO of Marriner Group said, “The Regent is such a beautiful theatre, but now it really is optimised for live performance.”
Musicals, Fleetwood Mac Big Ticket For Ticketmaster
Musicals and theatre productions were uppermost in Australian users’ minds when they voted for Ticketmaster’s global Ticket of the Year survey. Fleetwood Mac had the lead in New Zealand.
Come From Away, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child and Book of Mormon took first three spots in Australia, followed by comedian and musician Tim Minchin. 
In fifth place was RNB Fridays Live, then Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chicago The Musical, the Australian regional big-star Red Hot Summer Tour, the Muriel’s Wedding musical and hard rock Download festival.
Fleetwood Mac did four shows at Auckland’s 12,000-capacity Spark Arena and one at Dunedin at the 30,748-seat Forsyth Barr Stadium in September. It was the first visit by the current lineup with highly-decorated New Zealander Neil Finn. 
The Mac ranked ahead of U2, Six60, Eagles, with the rest of the Top 10 including  Hugh Jackman, Aladdin – The Musical, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chili Peppers and School Of Rock – The Musical.
Both countries voted Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour as most anticipated event of the coming year. John’s 40-dates through both to half a million fans kicks off at Perth’s HBF Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. 
Michael Chugg of Sydney-based Chugg Entertainment said, “It’s one hell of a show, we’re beyond excited to be bringing it to Australia, and from Ticketmaster’s Ticket Of The Year poll it looks like fans are highly anticipating it too!”

Three members of KISS perform the group

KISS Does Final Aussie Show For Eight Fans And Sharks
Paul Stanley’s flu saw KISS’ final Australian tour rescheduled and then cancelled. But the three healthy members did a show Nov. 18 after all – on a charter boat two hours off the coast of Port Lincoln, South Australia.
It was all part of an Airbnb “new experience” promotion. Adventure Bay Charters offers shark cage diving using rock music to attract great whites in the shark- infested waters. 
It was available for a package of eight, each paying A$75 (US$50.90), with the idea of watching “KISS’ underwater fans” through a glass-bottom. 
Alas no sharks seemed interested in rock and rolling all night but 50 other fans who charted their own boat also saw the show, complete with lights show and smoke machines. All proceeds went to the Australian Marine Conservation Society.