The Killers at The Taminga

AFL Grand Final morning is fantastic. Buzzing expectations, glancing yet again at your watch and finding stuff to distract the racing mind. At this point my cousin would apply Sparkling Ale, but today we choose modest exercise.

It’s cool in the Clare Valley, and the sun’s out, and the trees and the fairways of the golf course burst with warm promise and stratospheric, if fragile, hope. We only play nine holes, so we don’t need a lunchtime Zimmer or gopher. I take it as a minor omen that I don’t lose my ball.

The town has three pubs and these are, of course, the Top, the Middle and the Bottom pubs. Australians really do enjoy a rare and efficient grasp of geography. With an alluring alliterative splash, the Bottom is also the Bentley’s, and the Top is, yes, you guessed it, the Taminga.

Our tables were by the open windows overlooking the street, and as the breeze dashed in and out, we could see trucks and utes, lazily circling the roundabout. Opposite was Pink’s Mitre 10 Hardware, and I was fearful that this sleepy winery village had been invaded by that dreadful wailing popster. Imagine my relief upon learning that the Pink family has run their store for six generations, and never released a hideously overwrought album of faux-feminist tosh.

In order to set the afternoon’s rules of play I said, “What do you reckon? Every time Bruce McAvaney says, ‘clever’ Mozz has to woof down his beer.”

All agreed, except for Mozz.

In truth, drinking games are best left in our juvenile past, and we quickly recognised that no earthly good could come of my idea. Plus, there was the after-dark, safely back in our room, Karaoke to follow, and we had Ol ’55, Glen Campbell and the enormously patient Neil Diamond to cheerfully demolish.

Is there anything that generates such excessive expectation as complimentary party pies? No, of course not. And there were also wedges put out by the bar staff, but these conglomerates of oil and mistreated potato put me in mind of a semi-mythical fat-berg, easing along a London sewer in a decidedly sinister fashion.

Don’t you love suddenly remembering a great song? One you’ve not heard in a while? The pre-match entertainment was American band The Killers who I’ve always admired. Their fifteen-minute set was a treat, in contrast to Meatloaf, universally known as the evil mastermind responsible for the “Massacre at the MCG.”

But it’s only at the post-game concert that they played their finest song, “All These Things That I’ve Done.” Included on their 2004 debut Hot Fuss, it’s a classic of heartland rock. For days now, I’ve had it on repeat at home, in the car, and for personal health reasons, at work.

It reminds me of U2 from their Joshua Tree era, when they were the mightiest band on the planet. There’s a rousing intro which is reminiscent of “Where The Streets Have No Name,” as the pounding drums and catchy guitar conjure an anthemic boldness and a soaring gospel quality.

Like so much of Bono and band’s output, it’s about the seeking of redemption.

I want to stand up, I want to let go

You know, you know; no, you don’t, you don’t

I wanna shine on in the hearts of man

I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand

Now, Bono is largely a git wearing glasses around the clock, but for two decades the Dubliners were remarkable. They combined words and music with singular mastery.

As the Sweet Inspirations choir bursts to joyous life on the refrain: “I’m got soul, but I’m not a soldier,” I’d love to be at a huge, summery football stadium when the crowd sings along, with front man Brandon Flowers waving his microphone at the bouncing masses. A sign of modern esteem is parody, and the British comic Bill Bailey once pronounced in response to The Killers, “I’ve got ham, but I’m not a hamster.”

“Mr Brightside” may be more popular, and a track on which Richmond Tigers star Jack Riewoldt guests, but “All These Things That I’ve Done” is a stirring song that takes me to splendid places.

Places offering party pies, for free!


About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I severely underestimated the entertainment value of The Killers*

    * May not be actual killers

  2. I’ll give you Joshua Tree. But two decades FFS? Only band I know that can be banal and bombastic simultaneously, melodramatic and mundane at once… etc etc…
    I saw them a few years back at Docklands. (Gratis. Brother-in-law worked for BMW who were shelling out tickets.) They had this stage with long runways so no band member was ever closer than 70 metres to another. Wonder what Joe Strummer would’ve made of that.
    Maybe The Edge (The Edge!! Did he get that from Hunter Thompson. “… the only ones who know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” ) refused to be on the same stage as the amethyst-eyed leprechaun.

  3. Clare Valley is a top spot. Used to drop into Sevenhill Monastery on the way to Clare races for plonk and b blessings (only the plonk worked reliably). Tim Knappstein and Stanley Bin 5 and Bin 7 Rieslings were my first introduction to intoxication beyond King Browns (you mean not everything tastes like Green Monster?)
    Somehow missed The Killers in my musical journey but will add them to the playlist for the drive to Granada. (Given AJC’s musical scorn I won’t confess that last night in Cordoba was spent seeing Dirty Dancing at the Gran Teatro – I know it should been Concerto de Aranjuez – but – I Had the Time of my Life).

  4. Love it, Mickey.

    There is something about spending grand final day with friends.
    I’ve been doing it with the same group of mates for 33 years now – talk about a circle of life. I have aimed to pen an Almanac piece about this, but it would work better in long-from, I reckon. One day..

    Yep – I really like “All these things that I have done” but I reckon most of the Killers albums get very thin at the bottom end of the list – much like the Gold Coast Suns.
    “The Joshua Tree” still amazes me. U2’s body of work is right up there with the best of them, regardless of what the naysayers think and despite what they have become.

    Anson, I was at that Etihad show…vowed never again to see a concert there. They were electric in 1984 at the old Glasshouse.

  5. U2 are more of a Barossa band. Have popped in to rockford.

    Bit thin on the footy mickey.

    But sounds like a great day.

  6. I guess the killers performance was something better to write about than the crows.

  7. Non-Adelaideans can catch the Killers in 2018 on their four-city Australian tour, Swish.

    ajc- for mine I’d also include The Unforgettable Fire, Rattle and Hum, Achtung Baby and All That You Can’t Leave Behind, but The Joshua Tree clearly their best. Interesting that despite the wisdom and experience that comes with middle age, so many artists reach a peak in their twenties/ early thirties. I guess in the 80’s The Edge had more panache than Dave, but probably not in 2017.

    PB- Dirty Dancing? Fantastic. Once somewhere in Eastern Europe the wife watched something like Titanic in the local language. Funny how that works. Clare golf course a treat too with number 7, a par 3 from the top of a hill down a cliff in “SA’s greatest 18”- listed here:

    Smokie- 33 years of watching with the same mates? Brilliant. I’d love to read a version of this grand tradition. Their must be so great stories woven into that.

    JTH- Maybe on their album that comes out in December they’ll finally use “Tanunda, Eudunda and Kapunda” in a song about cabernet and cricket! Yes, not much footy in my piece. Didn’t think “Tigers terrific, Adelaide awful” added much to the collected recounts.

    6%- Yes. Regardless of the result, I do love the morning build-up and the excitement. Derby Day and the morning of an Ashes Test are similar for me.

    Thanks everyone.

  8. Mickey, what a great idea to pick the top 18. I haven’t played Clare but the Tanunda Pines 11th sounds similar. I love that the Naracoorte par 5 gets in. Have played that course many times when David and family lived down there. Really nice country tack. As is Mt Gambier.

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