It’s been quite a while since we had live music on TV with regularity, and following the recent Countdown Live special from the ABC, it seems that Aussies are missing these performances from our screens.
Back in the day, music programs were everywhere on TV, and thanks to shows like Countdown, Rock Arena, Recovery, and much more, Aussies were given a taste of local and international acts that they would likely have not heard of. Sadly, as the Internet gained even more traction, live performances on television took a dive and have never returned in the same way that they used to exist.
As you may have seen over the weekend, the ABC celebrated New Year’s Eve festivities by hosting a Countdown Live special.
With artists including Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson, Jimmy Barnes, Stella Donnelly, John Paul Young, and with a house band that featured the likes of The Wolfgramm Sisters, Peter Luscombe, and Ash Naylor, the musos covered a number of hits from the Countdown era to rapturous applause. Likewise, it seems that this success translated in terms of viewers too.
As TV Tonight reports, the ABC pulled in 1.49m viewers for their midnight fireworks presentation, and an average of 707,000 for the Countdown Live performance. Considering last year’s broadcast only drew 1.2m viewers for the fireworks, it could be reasoned a lot of this is to do with the live performance of classic hits from some brilliant Aussie musos.
As triple j’s Zan Rowe said prior to the performance, “It’s hard to believe that there was a time before the Internet, but the era we’re talking about was 1974 to 1987 – the TV was our connection to the world of music.”
“And as a country in Australia we were pretty isolated,” she continued. “But every week Countdown delivered all the songs that were in the charts and all the songs that were going to make it into the charts out of a little studio in Melbourne.”
As The Music noted, Phil Jamieson recently admitted that “It would be great to see live bands be able to perform on television in this country on free-to-air.”
While there has been talk of a revival of shows such as Recovery, plenty of music fans would happily get behind a revival of Countdown as well. However, the current climate of TV and Internet makes it hard for producers and bands to justify spending their time and money on live televised performances. Here’s hoping this Countdown Live special is the wake up call that Aussie TV needs.