Forces Entertainment tour of the Middle East Region
25 November 2014
Deployed soldiers got a dose of rock n roll and a hit of comedy during a Forces Entertainment Tour of the Middle East Region from October 22-27.
Musicians of The 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment band backed country singer Jade Holland and rocker Virginia Lillye, while Melbourne-based comedian Adam Rozenbachs had the crowds laughing with his stand-up routine.
People where in early for the first show at Australia’s main Middle East Region base, taking up seats as the band started their sound check.
Keyboardist, Musn Nathan Moore said the show was a good shake-out for the band.
“We'd just finished in-country training so we didn't have time for a lot of rehearsing,” he said.
“I think it was the show that was going to get the cobwebs out.
“We weren't sure how it was going to be received but because there were a lot of Australians there everyone loved it.”
Comedian Adam Rozenbachs observed a few odd things base personnel might not have noticed.
“There’s a list of things you can’t put in the toilet, like ‘sanitary napkins’ and ‘rubbish’ and one of them was ‘clothes’,” he said.
“Clearly if you’ve read it that many times you don’t question it but who’s putting clothes in the toilet and what happened to make them put it on a list? I know your jumper looks pretty s***t but maybe just put it in the bin.”
Americans joined Aussies on the lawn at Camp Baker in Kandahar for a BBQ and a night of Australian entertainment.
Saxophonist, Musn Jas Mitchell had the chance to meet some of the audience before the show.
“We'd heard the guys there had a big 24 hours before we arrived but they really got into the performance and started moving and dancing,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a push, but when it happens you know people are really getting into what they’re listening to.”
The tour flew to Kabul before taking a 1am US Chinook flight to ISAF HQ and unloaded speakers, lights and instruments from a running helo.
A garden outside the HQ building hosted the show where guitarist LCpl Dave Andrews and the band easily found their groove.
“We had been on the move with not much sleep so we were just focused on getting the job done,” he said.
“At the end of the day we're entertainers. No matter what's going on in your life, if you're crook or tired, you can’t let the audience know or they’ll feel less entertained.”
During the last show at Kabul Airport, Deputy Commander of Australians in Afghanistan, Col Susan Coyle and several Aussie ladies danced on stage during a rendition of "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves" by the Eurythmics.
Indicative of the unique stage, an indirect-fire alarm forced everyone to take cover, but with the all-clear the band pushed-on and finished the show in rock n roll style.