jenn jay tales

Jennifer Johnston shares her travel tales; life adventures; observations, photos and random thoughts

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Melbourne and the Grey Haired Brigade

Quality Time

I spent a weekend away in Melbourne with my mother recently – the main purpose was to see the Royal Military Tattoo performance.

Check out my story Melbourne and the grey haired crew

Edinburgh Castle in Etihad Stadium

Edinburgh Castle in Etihad Stadium

Sometimes its important to just slow down and take some time out to be with those you love.

mother and daughter time

mother and daughter time




Legends of Rock – a tribute to Led Zeppelin

Stairway to Heaven – a moving rendition

You just have to love YouTube. I was searching for the legendary song by Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven. I wanted to show my 15yo son an epic song from an era different to his. I came across this amazing tribute recorded in December 2012 at the 35th Annual Kennedy Centre Honours, held in Washington DC. The surviving members of Led Zeppelin (and other artists) were at a function held to honour their musical contribution to music.

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin chat with Barack Obama.

The surviving members of Led Zeppelin chat with Barack Obama.

It doesn’t matter your generation, or what genre of music appeals – this clip is INCREDIBLY moving. There is the powerful voice of Heart’s Ann Wilson; her sister Nancy’s wizardry on guitar; the orchestra; the ensemble choir wearing bowler hats as their tribute to the late and legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham. But most of all it is the presence of Jason Bonham – the son of John Bonham – whose drumming, took the emotional intensity of this tribute to a completely different level.  Watch it – and if you are not moved ……….


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Rocky Horror Show

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again – Nostalgically

Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre, QPAC

Timeless, ageless and unforgettable – a raunchy trip back to the 70’s via the Rocky Horror Show now playing at Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre until February 9.

Rocky Horror Picture show Brisbane 2014 season

Rocky Horror Picture Show Brisbane 2014 season

As a child growing up in the 70’s/80’s, the Rocky Horror (Picture) Show – an art-house stage show and film – influenced our generation. What child of my generation (and now following generations) could admit to never seeing the cult 1975 film starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon? Curry, playing a camp, devilish Frank n Furter in the celluloid version (after appearing in the inaugural London stage show in 1973) pushed the boundaries of what was decent and acceptable at the time.  Continue reading


Queensland Symphony Orchestra – 2014 Season Launch

Karina MC event img

   QSO Orchestra group img

QSO Frame img

Queensland Symphony Orchestra – 2014 Season Launch

at their new South-Brisbane premises.

Thanks to Xanthe from XS Entertainment I was able to attend the high tea VIP event. Please find my review, published on XS Entertainment:

It was such a colourful and entertaining morning – I will share a few photos I snapped:

Macaroon tree one img

One of the most beautiful looking macaron trees (and delicious as well!)

Karina in the Laneways img

Karina Carvalho

Maestro Fritzsch img

Maestro Johannes Fritzsch

Sarah Wilson img

Sarah Wilson entertains the courtyard guests

QSO 2014 brochure and macaron img

QSO Season 2014 Launch and (my) macaron

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Jenn’s Experience of the Caxton Street Seafood and Wine Festival (Bash)

This review (slightly modified) was originally published on XS Entertainment:

Caxton Street – Seafood Wine and Music Bash – Sunday May 5th, 2013

Billed as one of Australia’s biggest street parties – The Caxton Seafood and Wine Festival 2013,  drew a large crowd this year, hanks to reasonably good weather and a barrage of publicity.  The Festival is for anyone keen to sample seafood delights; sip on a few wines and enjoy  entertainment via an array of musical artists.  As the sun dipped and the music volume grew, like at so many Australian events, where relaxing and drinking is involved, many over-exuberant alcohol-fuelled patrons released their inhibitions.  Continue reading

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Pete Murray Stripped Down at the Hi-Fi Bar

Pete Murray sign

Hi fi sign

Pete Murray and friends played to a packed crowd, at the Hi-Fi in West End, on the eve of Anzac Day.

On his Byron Sessions Tour, Murray deliberately pared it down to the basics. Minus electronic or back-up band, it was his syrupy soulful voice; acoustic guitar; the occasional harmonica and the accompaniment of individually musically talented friends.

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Bruce Rocks Brisbane with Soul

bruce-springsteen Arms up - Getty

Bruce Springsteen gives it to Brisbane – Getty images

Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band last night rocked Brisbane in legendary rock arena style. Playing the opening Australian show on his World Wrecking Ball Tour at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, the Boss, with his re-vamped E Street Band hit the stage running. They entertained the capacity crowd with an energetic performance extending to three plus hours. We watched the Boss strut, gyrate, crowd-surf and repeatedly leave the stage to join the mosh pit. Those lucky fans experienced a decent close-up and many took the opportunity to hand-slap or hug this rock legend. The Boss gave everything in this energetic performance – hard to believe he is 63.

For this tour, 13 talented musicians make up the E street band, including legendary guitarist Nils Lofgren and Soozie Tyrell (violin and guitar.) In Patti’s absence, Soozie and her flowing blonde hair, rocked the femme fatale role. Tom Morello (Against the Machine) filled Steve Van Zandt’s “big” shoes, (playing in Norway according to the Boss.) A classy five piece brass section included the engaging 37 year old, Jake Clemons on baritone saxophone.  The late and undeanibly great Clarence Clemons would be proud of his nephew’s sax talent, especially his mind-blowing moments in Badlands.  Jake shared another skill with the Brisbane audience – a mean worm dance.

Bruce added a local touch, second song into the set, playing a very cool version of the iconic song Just like Fire Would, by Aussie Band The Saints.  Death to my Hometown, another of Bruce’s protest songs from the Wrecking Ball album, channeled the strong Irish influence of his New Jersey roots – a real toe tapper. With Charles Giordano playing a mean accordion, it was hard to not get up and dance an Aussie version of the Irish jig.

 Bruce held off talking to the crowd between songs until the sixth track.   “To get to Australia we had to cross over 1000’s of miles of shark infested waters to answer just one question: Can we feel the spirit?” Bruce chants.

Following the crowd surfing episode, where he felt the need to adjust himself (ever the showman), Bruce knew Brisbane was a bold audience, after something more. A stunning version of Because the Night, a song co-written with and made famous by Patti Smith gave the crowd more. Shackled and Drawn with Cindy Mizelle’s gospel like vocals, transported the crowd to America’s deep south.

In part of his speech in February this year, accepting an award for MusiCares 2013 Person of the year, Bruce said,

 “When we play we want you to feel the hair stand up on your arms and we want you to be glad of being alive.”

The Boondal crowd will often leave after the performer’s last song, before the encore to escape early and attempt to beat the car-park leaving blues – but not with the Boss.  Last night his audience wanted no end to this three hour rock music spectacle. Very glad to be alive and witness this spectacle.

It has been ten (long) years since Bruce last toured Australia. I hope his spirit for Australia and our audiences has been re-ignited and Bruce with his E Street Band continues travelling the long distance to return to our far away shores.  That resolutely set jaw, craggy distinct voice and white-man swagger will always entertain. At 63 he is still the Boss – a musical Legend.

Bruce Boondall (4)

Bruce rocks Brisbane Entertainment Centre

Bruce Boondall (2)

Brisbane Entertainment Centre


Bruce Springsteen Brisbane Entertainment Centre - iphone click March 14

might be far away – but it still felt incredible