Months in the planning, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE kicks off at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in SILVERCHAIR’s hometown on August 29, and then moves to POWDERFINGER’s backyard, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on August 31.
From there, the two chart-topping bands will take their show on the road for over two months, performing in locations as distant and diverse as Darwin and Hobart, Cairns and Mildura, Toowoomba and Bendigo … across the Great Divide and beyond.
The humongous Spring tour is an opportunity for literally hundreds of thousands of Aussie fans to partake in what will be a huge event in every location it visits. Most regional centres on the expansive itinerary won’t have seen a rock & roll show like this since tours by the likes of Midnight Oil and INXS in the 1980s.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 9am on July 9. There will also be special presales for the members of both bands’ fanclubs plus an exclusive presale for Visa Card holders from 9am on July 2 through 5pm on July 3 (see below for all the ticketing info).
“Aside from our album launches, these will be our first shows for two-and-a-half years, and the first time we will return to a lot of the regional areas,” says POWDERFINGER’s Bernard Fanning. “We have been threatening to hit the rural places for ages and now we’re getting around to it we are grateful to have Silverchair with us to carry our gear!! Two on the in and two on the out thanks boys!”
“We haven’t done a truly national tour since the end of 1997 and there are actually some places on this tour where we’ve never even played before,” says SILVERCHAIR’s Ben Gillies. “It’ll be great to get right around Australia after all this time and if the tickets don’t sell, we can always blame Powderfinger!”
While most events at this level would have brought corporate sponsors on board as tour presenters, POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR have instead chosen to use the shows to draw attention to a cause which is close to the hearts of the members of both bands – reconcile.org.au
reconcile.org.au is the website which fronts a campaign aimed at reducing the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children. reconcile.org.au reaches across the historic divide in respect, trust and understanding to generate a national conversation about bridging the gap.
The site has been created as part of this year’s 40th anniversary of Australia's most successful referendum, where more than 90% of people said YES to equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens. It was a referendum unlike any other, driven by the Australian people – Indigenous and non-Indigenous, working side by side.
Reconciliation Australia director Shelley Reys says the tour represents an unprecedented opportunity to reach a new generation of Australians and introduce them to the work of reconciliation. “The story of reconciliation needs 20 million voices and having these two bands using theirs is an incredibly powerful call to action for young Australians”.
By any measure, critically or commercially, POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR stand shoulder-to-shoulder as two of the most enduringly popular music acts Australia has ever produced.
For both bands, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE marks a return to major national touring following extended breaks.
This past March, SILVERCHAIR released Young Modern, their first new studio album in five years. Young Modern went straight to the top of the national charts. It made SILVERCHAIR the first Australian band ever to achieve the feat of scoring five No. 1 albums and is the fast selling release of the group’s career. Young Modern featured SILVERCHAIR’s comeback single, “Straight Lines”, which also topped the charts.
Last week, POWDERFINGER released its first studio album in four years, Dream Days at the Hotel Existence. It went straight to No. 1, and recorded the biggest first week sales of any artist so far this year, making it four consecutive chart-toppers for the ’Fingers and no doubt setting Dream Days at the Hotel Existence on a path to match the multi-platinum status of its predecessors. POWDERFINGER’s album sales exceed 2 million in Australia alone and their three previous releases (Internationalist, Odyssey Number Five and Vulture Street) each won the ARIA Album of the Year Award – a critical feat unmatched by any other Australian act.
Among their many respective accomplishments, POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR share a record for the most ARIA Awards won by any Australian band [the current tally is 14 apiece], as well as each claiming a spate of APRA songwriting awards.
Of course, POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR’s paths have briefly crossed a couple of times before. They have shared the bill at the odd rock festival over the years and, most recently, the legendary WaveAid tsunami benefit show at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2005.
“We met the Silver chaps back in 1994 and became friends,” say the members of POWDERFINGER. “At the time, we played some festivals together and talked about doing some touring down the track. It’s only taken us 13 years to get around to it!”
ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE will be a carbon-neutral event. POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR will be offsetting their carbon emissions associated with the tour (approximately 800 tonnes). They will be doing this through the purchase of accredited and independently verified carbon offsets purchased from a West Australian renewable energy wind farm via Climate Friendly.
POWDERFINGER and SILVERCHAIR can’t wait to get back in the bus and back on-stage, taking their music to Australians right across the country, ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE.
Fanclub members for both bands should keep an eye out for details on exclusive presale information.