Live Gigs: Big Day Out 1994 @ Freo Oval

So finally it’s 1994 Big Day Out, my very first one and the last post about all this! I’ve written just a little tiny bit about it below!

$45 for all those acts plus more back then, you know? I have say fuck all seems to be online about these old Big Day Outs shows, before looking them up I was thinking I’ll find heaps about them but I seem to be wrong about that so I’m just doing it myself!

So to start with Fremantle Oval seems like a such a tiny venue today, I when to a South Freo Aussie footy game last year and I looked around, that’s what I thinking! It’s an oval for Aussie rules footy but that’s it really, only one grand stand sitting area with real plastic seats but around the rest is just grass sloped up area for kids to play and family’s to have picnic or something. The stage was facing out at one end where the goals, the end closest to Freo Hospital and old Freo Jail which were backstage area for the bands would have been. The two main stage set up plus a third smaller stage closer to the main entry area.

1994 was the first year I when, missing the year before which was the first time touring the fest to Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne and 92 was the very BDO only playing in Sydney. Gold Coast was added in 94 as the first date and Perth as the last or Freo, I should say?

I came up from my small tiny country town by bus about six hrs with my then gf and young sister. I was 16 at the time or was it 17? Well I was some aged something then, BDO was all-age and back then you didn’t need to go with an old person. Both of them pissed off pretty early because my gf started vomiting non-stop even before the first band started to play, she sat under a tree while I ran down front for the first two bands and when I came back to see she was going home. In the day in age before mobile phones she when to the corner deli down the road to use a pay phone called her mum. BTW she did see Tex Perkins, lead singer of The Cruel Sea reading a newspaper and eating lunch there but she didn’t care because she was trying to stop throwing up. Plus my little sister was totally freaking out by all of it too so didn’t want to stay too but I did, off course!

On the now defunct website faster louder the festival founder Viv Lees says he and partner Ken West finally “got it right” in 1994 and they also rated it number two of all the years BDO played in Australia. I would say it’s tied top spot for me with 1996, then comes 1995 and 1997 plus whatever after that like 1999 was still pretty good!

Happy snaps!

The Cruel Sea’s Tex Perkins live on stage with beer, photo by Tony Mott
Backstage with The Ramones, photo by Tony Mott
Matt Cameron (Soundgarden), Johnny Ramone, Kim Deal (The Breeders), Joey Ramone, C. J. Ramone and Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) backstage!
Kim Deal from The Breeders joining Teenage Fan Club for a song on stage, photo by Tony Mott
Bjork by herself in the empty showgrounds venue over east, photo by Tony Mott.

Now on with the line-up or well, what I vaguely do remember: Soundgarden, Björk, Ramones, The Cruel Sea, The Breeders, Teenage Fanclub, The Smashing Pumpkins, Tumbleweed, The Meanies, Straitjacket Fits and Severed Heads plus a few others played the day but I missed them!

Opening band on the main stage of the day was New Zealand band Straitjacket Fits, does anyone remember them too? Sorry I’ll stop say that because it’s pointless. I love them ever since that day and still got their stuff today. She Speeds song was totally amazing starting the day.

Next was an Aussie band Tumbleweed from a town/city called Wollongong and then Melbourne’s The Meanies but they played on side stage or maybe it was later on? Maybe I remember them together because of the night before, I did see a side show the Saturday night before with both The Meanies and Tumbleweed at want now is a sport bar. Daddy Long Legs by Tumbleweed is just above and The Meanies’ Cruelty’s Fun is just below.

Now this might sound mad today but I’m saying The Smashing Pumpkins played next on the bill, maybe this was before Mr. Billy got his big head ego trip but he did have a head of hair then. Now remember it’s only just 94 and Siamese Dream was only release a few months earlier which I did always think was a much nicer album and less manic than what followed. I think I’m skipping them in videos and Teenage Fanclub because it’s the OK oversea bands on the day.

Released in 1993 was The BreedersLast Splash album and the Cannonball song was much bigger so they played next on the day, I when crowd surfing just the bass line finish and the rest of the band kick into to the groovy bit of that track. At the time UK’s Teenage Fanclub was amazingly a bigger band in the indie world then but my highlight of their set was when Kim Deal of The Breeders came back on to play a song with them.

Then into the final four bands of the day, Aussie The Cruel Sea was huge at the time and only three acts played after them. I don’t think they do mean much outside Australia but I dig them as much as any Aussies growing up in the 90’s, they didn’t seem to stop touring at this point in time because I think I did see them again this year. This Is Not The Way Home is just ultimate 90’s track.

Ramones played next in full leather jackets and jeans even if it was middle of the Aussie summer here but the sun was going down in their set. It’s unbelievable looking at that photo above with all three main guys no longer with us now. Wanna Be Sedated is the song I wanted them to play and they did!

Somehow Bjork played in between them and headlines. At some point in the middle of her set the sound, lights and everything just die and Freo was in the dark but I like to think Bjork started to fly, float above the crowd and just kept singing and crowd had to be very quite to hear her singing without a microphone above us but everything came back to life after a bit in the dark so everyone when a little bit more nuts for her. It was just when her Debut album was out so it’s Human Behavior.

Headlines were Soundgarden and they were insane that night, it’s was only a couple of months away for the Superunknown album to being dropped but I remember Spoonman as if it was only played yesterday. Some dickhead throw a beer bottle and hit the bass player in the face too, I was closest to his side of stage saw it and I don’t think the others knew what happened because the bass guitar was on the floor and he was off the stage and into the crowd, just were I was standing watching. So a very anger Ben Shepherd was climbing in on top of me and everyone around me, the security guards were putting him back while the rest of the band finished the song. Then Ben’s screaming at the security but when back on stage to play the next song while the security guys climb in but at some point Shepherd started to smile and nodding his head so they must have got the guy or something. Jesus Christ Pose finished the set that night too.

Oh, it was Severed Heads playing on a side stage after the headliners finish so here’s Dead Eyes Opened.

After it all finished Freo on a Sunday night was like a ghost town the 90’s, all these kids sleeping doorways, lining up use phone boxes, no public transport at all, every cab that came into the area was chased down. Lucky I met up with friends who had just moved to the big city because I didn’t even have a plan what to do but I sleep on the floor back at there share-house and then caught a bus back to my gf’s mum’s to see she had stop vomiting and my sister wasn’t having panic attack!

The old flyer/poster of the first four bands announced playing BDO 94!

 I hope someone out there enjoy my very long and too detail post about this day in my life?

Cheers 🙂



  1. Sounds like a great show. I never got to a festival myself until my 30s, though I did have a couple friends that went to the original spate of Lollapalooza shows.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. I’m hoping I can do them for a few years to come. I’ve got a folk fest coming up in September that features The Decemberists, David Byrne, and Steve Earle (among others).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. SOunds like such an adventure and the memories are really intense right? that comes across in the writing here I felt like I was in Freo in the 90’s there with you. It was like a short story an very cool. So how did your gf at the time go with the vomiting? She would have been regretting she missed the best festival ever. Cruel Sea and Tumbleweed, I used to love them too, back in the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, she was fine the next day so must have been 24hr bug or food poisoning or something like that? She was a big city girl and see some very cool stuff already and i was just from the country so you could say finally i got one up!
      Cheers 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this amazing memory. I also was at Freo Oval that day. I was recovering from the flu so just took cold and flu tablets! For me, the highlight was Smashing Pumpkins. While they were playing the seabreeze (‘Freo Doctor’) began wafting in. Time seemed to slow down . It was dreamy and beautiful. It’s a special memory for me, so I’m glad to read your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel a bit strange about this day. I like the way you describe Bjork’s performance because it does not entirely clash with my memory. I was living down south in Denmark at the time. I meant to attend by buyuing a ticket at the door, but I suspect it sold out or I ended up lacking the cash. I came during the day and wondered why the crowd booed Bjork. I now realise it wasn’t her time to be on stage. Was the lights out during her gig an act of payback? I recall the power out in 2008 Big day out Perth was in the next artist Rage Against the Machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi William, awesome, thanks for posting all of this info about BDO Perth/Freo. I was just listening to a Pumpkins record & then Googled ‘Smashing Pumpkins Perth’ as I was hoping to see a few pics of that awesome gig (I remember it so well, like it was yesterday!!)& then saw your blog online…do you still write about 5his stuff or now? Still into the old Grunge & BDO stuff or have now retired & moved onto bigger & newer things? For the most part I haven’t. I love new music too, but I’m still a huge fan of the Pumpkins (& well all Grunge/Alt music in general). So am happy to hear from people who are into same type of music & to hear about what they love music wise..& what moves them. Thanks so much for your article on BDO, it brought back so many memories. Ok bye, Mazza 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh cool and glad you found it! Sorry about kind-of dismissing Smashing Pumpkins but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t find any photos of them but it seems at the time of trying to write something about BOD 94 and posting it, I couldn’t find much of anything really!
      I’m not really blogging at the moment but glad you leaved a comment and if you have a dig around my little blog you’ll find way more 90’s indie music, you know?
      Cheers Mazza 🙂


      1. Thanks yes I enjoyed reading a few of your blogs already. Hopefully one day in the future you’ll blog some more, maybe when you get time & find some more things you love or just enjoy writing about? I’m sure you already realise, but you’re very good at it. Take care.
        Cheers again, Mazza 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s