1965 Australian Tour

After their non-stop exertions of 1964, the members of the DC5 may have thought 1965 would be a little less hectic. However the year was once again made up of whistle stop overseas tours, which this time also took in the long trip to the Antipodes. At 2 a.m. on May 25th, the group along with Tommy Quickly and The Seekers flew into the Western Australian city of Perth thirty six hours after they London, to start an eleven day, seven concert, 4500 mile tour before going on to New Zealand. However before the tour started such was the demand for tickets that three extra concerts had to be pencilled into the already exhausting schedule.

The tour promoter was Kenn Brodziak a 52 year-old Entrepreneur who had been bringing big name acts into Australia since 1948. He used the name "The Big Show" for all his major tours and had recently organised the Beatles tour of Australia. The DC5 were to be the headline act along with Aussie group "The Seekers" who were returning from a successful spell in the U.K. Tommy Quickly, a Liverpool singer from the Brian Epstein stable and Aussie duo Bobby and Laurie, who had just had a massive Aussie hit with "I Belong With You", were the other permanent members of the tour party. In addition a local DJ was provided from each city to act as "show compere" along with local groups to supplement the evening's entertainment.

The "Big Show" opened in Perth at the Capitol Theatre with two concerts on the 26th May, the day after their arrival in Australia.Local group "The Frames" provided the support to the four main acts. The Perth newspapers hadn't given too much coverage to the concert or the DC5, concentrating only on the return to Australia of "The Seekers". The concert was recorded as "Bobby and Laurie" have since issued a CD of their live performance at that venue.This was the brief report in the "West Australian" newspaper.

"Put your hands on your ears, it blocks out the screaming. The music comes through, the vibration comes up through the floors". This was the advice a teenage redhead at The Capitol Theatre last night-and she was right. From the moment the curtain began to rise it was on. They screamed, they stamped, they leapt into the air, they sent streamers whirling through the spotlights on the stage. They showered their favourites with rose petals and when the petals ran out, screwed up paper bags aimed at the performers. And the artists were The Seekers, The Dave Clark Five, Tommy Quickly, long haired Bobby & Laurie and The Frames.With a battery of five microphones to help them they matched the ear-shattering screams with the explosion of rhythm from banjos, bass cymbals, drums and guitar."

The following day the acts made the long trip from Perth to Melbourne (approx 2000 miles) where they performed two concerts on May 28th and 29th. The venue was the Festival Hall and local DJ Stan "The Man" Rofe was brought in as compere. There were also two additional local groups performing, MPD Ltd and "The Henchmen”. The local radio station broadcasted the concert, it was also recorded as excerpts appear on "The Seekers" 5 CD set.

The following day the "Melbourne Sun" concentrated mainly on the homecoming of "The Seekers" in its concert report. It also printed a picture of Judith Durham of "The Seekers" sitting on Dave Clark's knee. The Dave Clark 5 were allocated just one paragraph;

"After the interval the Dave Clark 5 came on and the roof came off! Stadium manager Richard Lean Jun said that it was the most noise since The Beatles and Dave Clark on the drums was able to drum up just the support he wanted".

Scant reward for attracting seven thousand paying customers into the Festival Hall!

May 30th was spent making a shorter trip from Melbourne to Adelaide (500 miles) where they were to perform one concert at the Centennial Hall on May 31st. For this venue MPD Ltd were retained and the local support was provided by Tony Worsley and the Blue Jays. The "Adelaide Advertiser's" report the following day was again devoted to the performance of "The Seekers." Their reporter was obviously not a young man, as after "The Seekers" finished their spot and the DC5 came on, he promptly went home as they were too loud !!!!

From Adelaide the party made the 1300-mile trip to Brisbane to perform two concerts at the Festival Hall on June 3rd. The four regular acts were supplemented by local Brisbane band "The Escorts". Six thousand fans flocked in to see the performances. The "Brisbane Courier-Mail" gave the DC5 very little column space with:

"The reception for the Dave Clark 5 was riotous! Two thousand teenagers crammed the stage and a dozen climbed onto it to hug and kiss the "five" before police threw them back. The concerts proved that rock and roll is not dead, at least in Brisbane!"

The artists either travelled the 500 miles from Brisbane to Sydney late that night or early the next day as they performed three concerts at Sydney on June 4th and 5th. The DC5 also found time to record a one-hour TV "spectacular" at the ATN TV studios in Sydney, for broadcast through the Channel 7 network.The concert venue this time was "The Stadium", MPD Ltd. rejoined the ensemble and "The Showmen" were brought in as the local attraction. The "Daily Telegraph" obviously had a more musical minded reporter as he queried the folk orientated Seekers position amongst five amplified electric rock groups:

"After the pulsating noise of The Showmen, Tommy Quickly and Bobby and Laurie, the folk quartet's instruments were tinny and faint causing a feeling of anticlimax. By contrast the top ranking English group, The Dave Clark 5 were more dynamic. Although one couldn't hear the words of their songs above the screaming, stamping and whistling of thousands of teenagers, it didn't seem to matter. With literally a ton of amplifying equipment to pound out the beat, words were not necessary and what did stand out was the tremendous abandon with which the audience responded to this driving sound. In the last analysis each group was individually pleasing but the mixture of folk and Liverpool beat did not blend successfully".

So the short hectic tour of 10 concerts, various TV and radio interviews and even a TV special ended. The DC5 had played live in front of some 60,000 Aussie fans, the next day the DC5 and Tommy Quickly travelled 2000 miles to New Zealand where they undertook a seven concert tour in the following six consecutive days. All this bearing in mind they were also some twelve thousand miles from home gives some idea of the tremendous pressure, which the group performed under especially in 1964 and 1965. After New Zealand the Dave Clark Five went straight onto their third tour of the U.S.A.

Recollections of the Tour

Lenny Davidson

I have several main memories of our tour to Australia, but strangely none of them about the actual concerts. Contracting the "Delhi Belly" on the way out to Perth, which nearly got the tour cancelled is one. We got it by simply drinking out of a bottle; it was as easy as that. I also had an uncle who'd lived in Oz for 20 years and he'd warned me (or scared me) about the spiders. "We have spiders that can kill you in 20 seconds" he'd told me, which had made me quite apprehensive. When we flew into Perth and checked into the Hotel we found a huge spider in the middle of our hotel room floor. We stood on chairs and shouted for help till someone came and removed it. I never did find out whether it was poisonous or not!

I remember spending a free day with Mike who had made friends with some guys from a snorkelling club. They took us to Bondi beach to go snorkelling with them. Mike put all gear on and went in but I'd seen signs all along the beach warning about shark attacks so I stayed on the beach and watched them! When we were in Melbourne, the tour people arranged for us to go to Melbourne Zoo and I have a lot of cine film, which I've put on video of all five of us feeding kangaroos etc.

We flew to New Zealand afterwards and it was strange to find that everything closed there at 10pm. Therefore after a concert you couldn't go out for a meal or a quiet drink as everything was shut! It made for some very quiet nights.
Flying back home Rick and I were on a separate flight to the other guys and we had to circle Heathrow several times as the planes undercarriage wouldn't come down. When we saw the rest of the guys a few days later we told them about it only to find their trip home had been far more frightening.

Judith Durham of "The Seekers"

I wasn't a big fan of rock and roll music in general really. I was very shy of the rock scene and found it a bit raucous. It's with hindsight that I've realised many of the tunes were really catchy.

The tour itself was contrived as a way for The Seekers to quickly get back to Australia to see our parents and families, as we had all been away from Australia for a whole year by then, and had originally left only for a ten week trip. We all knew it was an unsuitable combination to have us, a folk group, on tour with the DC5 however the DC5 went down great everywhere. They gave the crowd what it wanted.

In those days, I hardly left my dressing room so I never saw them perform. I could hear the reaction and the music over the P.A. in the dressing rooms mainly.The DC5 guys were great to me when you think about it, considering I was just a "folky" in their eyes. I think they all probably viewed me as a "little sister", like The Seekers boys seemed to treat me. When the journalist asked me to sit on Dave Clark's knee for that photo, I couldn't believe Dave agreed so readily and was so nice to me. I thought Dave was so good looking and I just didn't feel I was the kind of girl who should be sitting on his knee. It was a bit like that when I joined The Seekers, I thought I wasn't pretty and slim enough to be in the group because all the boys were so good looking. While the photo was being taken, I was desperately trying to make myself as light as I could, so he wouldn't realise how big I was!!!

Denis Payton

I remember our Australian tour well, I thought it was very Americanised at the time but I'm not so sure that it is still the same, I think it probably has its own identity now. We went out there in their winter, which turned out to be the equivalent of our summer! I recall the concert venues being so hot and humid. The Seekers” " were great people and Judith Durham had a great voice, in fact she still has, it has a remarkable quality and still sounds "fresh".

After we toured Australia we went on to New Zealand before returning via Hong Kong. For some reason Rick and Lenny went on ahead on a different flight so myself, Dave, Mike and the two roadies, John Burgess and Mike Hewitson came back on an Air India Boeing 707. We flew through a major electrical storm and our plane was struck by lightning, we immediately nose-dived. The plane was going down at an incredible speed and accelerating all the time, we dropped about ten thousand feet. People were screaming and it was very frightening. We were seated near the rear and I remember that I was holding a bottle of Coke in one hand and a glass in the other. I let go of the glass but as we were diving so fast it didn't drop to the floor it actually floated! Eventually the pilot pulled us up and we made an emergency landing at a desert airstrip. They gave us food and shelter in marquees, while they examined the plane under huge arc lights. They decided that the plane was too damaged to continue and had to get us another aircraft. The lightening strike had knocked out all the rivets from the wings of the aircraft; it was a miracle that the wings hadn't come off in the dive. I later spoke to the pilot, "That was brilliant flying", I thanked him. He just looked up, smiled and said "luck!!!"

Murray Wallace

It was my older brother who had tickets to the concert, and as I had just started full time employment I was able to purchase a ticket from him. The concert was held at the Capitol theatre which was Perth's largest seating venue with a capacity of 3000. As I recall the first half of the show was The Seekers and the DC5 the second half. The expectation of hearing and seeing the DC5 caused me to this day to completely forget the first half of the concert. The Seekers in their own right were a great national and international group, but it was not my style of music, I was there to hear rock.

The show was introduced by Perth's leading DJ of the time, Paul Gardine and as the curtain was raised all hell broke loose which one will never forget. The first number was "Big Noise from Winnetka" and loud! The drum kit of flashing lights was awesome to a 15 year old kid and I was swept away with the euphoria, so much so I didn't realise that half the seats in front of me were now empty as the crowd had rushed to the front of the stage. My only time of hearing girls scream was previously at The Beatles movie "A Hard Days Night", and this crowd had gone crazy! I think the one moment of the concert that I can remember vividly, was Dave introducing their new single "Come Home" and the lights were dimmed to a background of soft blue and the spotlight on Mike. As their first bracket of songs were "belters" this slow number caught the audience by surprise as it had not been released or heard in Australia before. Denis was standing at the front twisting this strange instrument (cabasa) that many of us had not seen before. The next sets of numbers were all rocking ones to the shows end. The show finished with girls still screaming, sobbing and crying. On my way home we had to walk past the hotel that the DC5 were in. As the concert hall and the hotel were only a couple of hundred metres apart a group of about 100 screaming fans had gathered chanting "We want Dave" and the DC5 obliged by coming to their window to acknowledge the crowd. It was a night to remember!"

Rick Huxley

I remember the Australia tour well... I really liked the country. We didn't get off to a great start though as we had a thirty-six hour flight over there along with The Seekers. We had several stops on route, one of which was Delhi. It was there that Lenny and I went down with the infamous "Delhi Belly" which lasted well into the first week of the Australian tour.

The Seekers were a great bunch of people, although we were poles apart musically. I got on really well with Keith Potger and Bruce Woodley. Atholl and Judith were both very shy and quiet but Keith and Bruce were typical Aussies who loved to go out after the show for a beer and I often tagged along with them. I know we travelled with them to Australia as they were returning home after a successful spell in England but I can't recall travelling with them as we toured around. I can only remember that we just used ordinary scheduled flights to make our way from city to city.

We didn't have a lot of free time on that tour but we did have time to celebrate one of Lenny's birthdays, it might have even been his twenty-first. We also managed to meet a few old friends from back home. In the late 50's a lot of Brits emigrated out to both Australia and New Zealand using "Assisted Passages" and while we were in Melbourne we met up with some of Dave's friends who used to live in Tottenham and later with an old school pal of mine who had gone out to Auckland. It's quite strange travelling ten thousand miles to meet someone from your hometown.

Doug Osbourne of "The Henchmen"

I remember the DC5 were top billing (last act on the show) and that Dave had this strobe light in his bass drum, so that each time he hit the foot-pedal the lights would flash. They saved this up until the last few numbers and especially for "Glad All Over" which they finished the show with. It was their big finale number, as it was their big hit at the time. They sounded great, just like their recorded sound, which in those days was something as recording studios often covered up a lot of vocal and musical deficiencies. But their sound was really good; the lead guitarist used an "echolette" on his amp, which gave a good effect. The crowd loved them! I also seem to remember that they were dressed in Salmon coloured suits... very snappy! The jackets were a bit like The Beatles style of collar, which were all the rage then anyway.


For their help in compiling this article and for their recollections I would like to thank.

Alan Harvey, Judith Durham, Dave Butler, Doug Osbourne, Graham Simpson & Murray Wallace

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