Between now and October rock band Dragon will play 50 shows around the nation.
Rock gigs are one of the very few places you can go and sing with a whole bunch of people.
It’s partly to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their hit “April Sun in Cuba” but also because jumping onstage is just something they like to do.
“It’s a very therapeutic thing in some ways,” founding member and bassist Todd Hunter said.
“You could travel all day and by the time you get onstage you’re feeling pretty ordinary, but by two hours later after you finish playing you feel fantastic.”
Hunter believes rock gigs are one of the last few place where people can sing with a bunch of other people, something of a dying art in our culture he says.
“Our culture doesn’t sing much together anymore. In New Zealand in the ‘60s there would be a piano in every house and people would just be playing and singing,” he said.
“It’s the biggest thrill to me, you’re doing a festival or community event and there’s 50,000 people roaring a song right back at you.
“Sometimes we just stop and let the crowd sing for a couple of verses, and then we have to wrestle it back off them.”
Dragon have had close ties to the Illawarra after opening Wollongong’s Crown Street Mall many years ago, while Hunter resides on the South Coast.
He admitted often driving past Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, always thinking what it would a great venue to play at.
Hunter will have the honour of plugging in his bass inside the art deco styled concert hall, ready to whip out classic gold hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Though they are in the middle of recording a new album (scheduled for release next August), their show will pay homage to the hits featured on the now defunct music show Countdown – including their own biggest hits.
Songs like “Stayin’ Alive”, “Roxanne”, and “Long Way to the Top” will be mixed with Dragon classic of “Are You Old Enough”, “Celebrate” and more.
“As soon as you start playing the first couple of bars of a song the whole crowd just comes alive,” Hunter said.
“All the songs from that era are incredibly iconic, and you still hear them here and there.”
In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s the group became renowned for rock star behaviour, trashing hotel rooms and drug problems.
During the course of the band’s earlier career, several members died from drug-related causes.
Original lead singer Marc Hunter was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 1997 and died are year later.
Dragon celebrates Countdown, Anita’s Theatre Thirroul, April 8.
Tickets from www.ticketmaster.com.au