Pete Murray Performs at Picnic Day on Groote Eylandt
Yesterday was Picnic Day; a NT public holiday for workers to enjoy a day of rest with family and friends.
Picnic Day is a highly anticipated and talked about event on island, as GEMCO (the mining company) goes all out to treat the young and old to a day of free food and entertainment.
All attendees could help themselves to BBQ’d hamburgers, pizza, curry and drinks throughout the day. By afternoon, dixie-sticks and ice-cream tubs were being dispersed to the masses who were sprawled out on picnic rugs. Sprinkles on top came in the form of acoustic poster boy, Pete Murray. He played a 30-minute set including some of his old stuff that everyone lethargically swayed along to. Post Pete Murray entertainment was a fire show geared towards the younger crowd. Two energetic stuntmen twirled flaming batons and got everyone’s eyes prepped for the bright lights to come. Shortly after the show ended,we all congregated to the pub to watch a $20,000 fireworks display which included some of the most spectacular effects I’ve seen; like a small-scale version of Sydney Harbour on NYE.
After a long day, we decided to head for home before Pete Murray returned for an encore performance at the pub. I caught up with a friend today who lives right across from the pub, who said she was being sung lullabies by Pete well into the early hours of the morning. If only she could have awoke this morning to him singing ‘Banana Pancakes’.
Pete played as the afternoon sun started to go down. Throughout his set he refused to take his sunnies off despite the fact we were the ones forced to squint whilst the rays warmed his back. Even though we were all sitting within metres of the stage, I felt as though his glasses served as an invisible barrier between us and him. A number of times during his set he pleaded with the audience to get up and dance and to move in closer. “They just sat there like they didn’t know what to do,” I could just imagine him complaining to his city friends upon returning to the mainland. Maybe it’s just a personal vexation, but I can’t stand staring into the face of someone wearing reflective or polarised glasses, particularly if I can see myself staring back. Pete Murray gets a 10 out of 10 for his performance and a big fat 0 for his effort to try to connect with the locals.
Pete’s lyrics would have you thinking he’s a laid-back beach bum who would easily blend into the island’s scenery. But apart from his sunrise printed tank top, his styled up-do and skinny jeans suggested he’s grown tired of the simple life. It could be said he’s ‘seen better days’ than playing to a town full of clueless misfits on Picnic Day. BADUM-TSHH!