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When they announced the Thank You Australia Concert I knew by hook or by crook I had to go. The God’s were smiling on me because my mother was away that Tuesday night and I knew I could wind my father around my little finger. There was a little problem of money, my allowance was only $5 per week and the tickets were $8, at 15 I could see no point in saving money so I was always broke. Again my father came to the party although he reminded me that I was not to tell my mother or in her usual fashion she would hit the roof and we would both be on the receiving end. My mother was very conservative and she did not approve of long haired rock stars, as far as she was concerned they were all louts.
Off I went to the Sydney Sports ground with my mates bright and early so we could get good spots. We got our tickets, we had packed our lunch and our radio was blaring 2SM the popular local music station (the nuns forbade us from listening to that station because it played evil music.Years later I found out the SM stood for Santa Maria and it was owned by the Catholic church) everything was fine with the world.
After a few hours I started to feel a little crook, my three mates kept telling me I looked awful but I tried to pass it off as a dodgy lunch. Another hour passed and I was really sick, I felt like I had been kicked in the right side by a horse, then it happened I keeled over. When I came too there were a couple of Ambulance blokes telling me to keep still, I told them I was fine and promptly keeled over again. When I woke up the next day the doctor was saying something about my kidney collapsing but I wasn’t listening, I was devastated the show was over and I missed it. It was on the telly as well but in those days in Australia we didn’t know what a video recorder was.
My mates came to visit me later on but they didn’t help the situation by telling me how great the show was, not once but a dozen or so times. Then they told me how they scalped my ticket for ten bucks. I have to be honest here I was glad when they left, they were not cheering me up at all. I ended up losing the kidney but somehow I felt I had lost more.
I didn’t realise then what a profound effect Neil Diamond was going to have on my life.
To be continued…….