It’s not often you get to be Mick Jagger on stage in front of 700 screaming fans, but that’s what happens when you get fuelled by glory — and two wines.
The Rockwiz format is a tried and tested magnet for trivia buffs and show-offs who just can’t resist their 15 minutes of fame.
The chief gardener and I had booked weeks in advance for the Rockwiz Live Twenty seventeen Shepparton show during its 29-date national tour.
Co-host Brian Nankervis was already in the Eastbank foyer by the time we arrived.
He was flashing his searchlight smile at people before they entered the auditorium to try to get them up on stage as panel members.
I was determined to avoid his charm offensive because I was now a grandfather and a stalwart of the old lawnmowers stalwart club.
Besides, I had retired my underground rock cult career after I was mobbed by hysterical self-funded retirees following my final appearance as John Lennon in a Fab Four tribute night at The Connection way back in the crazy 2000s.
And there’s nothing worse than watching people over 60 get their jiggy on to tunes that were popular when they were 16.
Unless you’re Mick Jagger.
We were about to take our seats when Mr Nankervis announced a wildcard Beatles quiz to give eight more people a chance to pit their trivia wits and score everlasting rock trivia glory.
I was going to ignore it, I really was—but the pressure was too much.
I felt the power of 1400 eyeballs drag me on stage.
That’s the burden of living in a town where you once appeared on stage as John Lennon.
There was also the chance of meeting Julia Zemiro.
But that was a minor attraction— really. Oh c’mon. Pulease.
Anyway, all wildcard contestants had to name a Beatles song in a sudden death knockout.
If you ran out of songs or repeated one, you were out.
Five minutes later I was the only wildcard still standing— and I hadn’t even used my atom bomb of McCartney’s Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? (from the self-titled album more commonly known as The White Album, 1.42 minutes, seventh track on side two).
I was now a step closer to feeling Julia’s hair swish across my face as she leaned in to ask me in her smoky-sleep voice: ‘‘And what was the first rock concert you ever went to, John Lewis?’’
But first I had to get through a contest against four other Rockwiz final wannabes.
Suddenly Mr Nankervis’ questions were all about classic Australian rock tunes.
I didn’t arrive here until the 1990s and, besides, I am a flower child of the ’60s, so I can’t admit to remembering anything about that decade at all.
Then the opening two bars of the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction blasted into the Eastbank audience and I hit the buzzer so hard I became Pavlov’s dog on acid.
My reward for being the first to name Keefer’s solid gold riff was to get up and do Mick Jagger. Okay. The game was now on.
I doffed my jacket to reveal a tight black T-shirt and jeans and the wiry frame of a septuagenarian gym junkie on Red Bull.
This was my chance. Forget Lennon, he’s dead.
Jagger is very much alive and I was the man to remind everyone.
Mr Nankervis handed me the microphone and I felt the Jagger stick hit me.
I thrust my groin. I gyrated my hips.
I blew kisses and screamed the opening line ‘‘I can’t get no . . .’’ etc.
Then Mr Nankervis kindly reminded me it was still the guitar intro—the words were another three bars away. I was just too excited.
Unfortunately, even though Jagger did live for 30 seconds on the Eastbank stage on Saturday, it wasn’t enough to get me within swooning distance of Ms Zemiro’s hair.
I crashed out to those with better buzzer control and to people who had never really lived the rock and roll life — they’d just read about it.
I am now working on a Bob Dylan/Cliff Richard cameo— that’s more like the sort of thing a stalwart lawnmower would do.