Cold Chisel tour: More shows and a $10K reward announced

Cold Chisel is offering a $10,000 reward to help them solve a decades-old mystery. See how you can help the band ahead of their 50th anniversary tour as more shows have been locked in.

News Corp Australia Network

It’s the mystery which has vexed Cold Chisel for four decades and now the treasured rockers are offering a $10,000 reward in an attempt to solve it.

As Jimmy Barnes and the band reunite to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a national tour, they are desperate to find the missing films of their extraordinary An Evening With The Circus Animals shows in 1982.

Like some of their Big Five-0 shows later this year, those over-the-top gigs to launch their fourth record Circus Animals were held under a Big Top.

The 1982 concerts, filmed at Wentworth Park in inner Sydney on April 17 and 18, remain the stuff of legend to Chisel fans.

They closed with Barnes flying above the audience on a trapeze underneath a stunt motorcycle racing along a tightwire as he sang Goodbye (Astrid Goodbye), with the microphone in one hand and his trademark bottle of vodka in the other.

Cold Chisel performs at An Evening with Circus Animals show at Wentworth Park in Sydney in 1982. Picture: Supplied

Cold Chisel are chasing missing footage of their performance ‘An Evening with Circus Animals’ Wentworth Park in Sydney in 1982. Picture: Supplied

But the rocker’s high-flying stunt wasn’t the only dangerous moment of the first night at Wentworth Park.

Barnes and bandmates Ian Moss, Don Walker, Phil Small and original drummer Steve Prestwich were upstaged before they burst into their signature opener Standing On The Outside by the “circus animals”.

The shows were opened by a performance featuring trapeze artists, dancing elephants, lions, tigers and stunt motorcyclists.

“The Big Top was down near the dog track in Sydney. Outside the tent, they had all these animals, elephants and llamas and shit,” Barnes recalled.

“And I think the loud music startled them and on the first night a whole herd of camels or something ran through the crowd.

“So the second night, there were no more animals. The only animals in the circus were us.”

Cold Chisel band members Phil Small, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, and Don Walker. Picture: Justin Lloyd

While the band have audio recordings of those historic shows, the only surviving footage forms the live music videos for Bow River and Taipan, where you can also see the ecstatic crowd going off under the Big Top.

The Chisel team have undertaken exhaustive archival searches for the missing film over the years but turned up nothing.

And now as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their formation in Adelaide, they are hoping fans or an industry insider might be able to unearth the footage from someone’s backyard shed, under their bed or gathering dust on the shelves of an old film editing studio – and they’re willing to pay $10,000 for their return.

Members of Cold Chisel, pictured here in 1982

The band members, in their late 60s and early 70s, have all remained actively engaged in their rock’n’roll pursuits when Chisel was on hiatus; the seminal rockers last reunited for the Blood Moon album in 2019 and subsequent summer tour in 2020.

And while their indefatigable quests in the service of rock’n’roll offers an impression that a life devoted to music may bestow an eternal youth, it is the loss of so many of their compadres in recent years which fuelled their desire to get the band back together for this tour.

Rocker Jimmy Barnes on the mend after undergoing open heart surgery late last year. Picture: Instagram

“When I got sick at the end of last year – and I was as healthy as a mallee bull when that happened – I realised you can go from that to it could all be over in a heartbeat, literally; that sealed it for me,” Barnes said.

“I wanted to make sure that we did it. It’s not a get-together for the sake of it, it’s not a get-together for the money, it’s not a get-together to mend old riffs or water under the bridge.

“I want to get together with these guys, and we want to get together, to grab hold of those moments that were the best things in our lives.”

Rocker Jimmy Barnes performing during concert at Memorial Drive, Adelaide, in 1982. Picture: Paul Lakatos

Barnes often describes his bandmates as brothers. The band’s pragmatic chief songwriter and piano player Walker said the nature of the Chisel bond, and its metaphysical power to gather tens of thousands of people to witness the band in full flight, are “not things we think about or discuss.”

“If it’s there, it’s just there. Our initial bond was musical skills. Then after some time we accumulated a bank of travel and experience that we shared while the rest of the world fell away,” he said.

On the Blood Moon tour, Chisel had new songs to play from a freshly-minted No.1 record, which was one of the most acclaimed collections of songs of their illustrious career.

Jimmy Barnes performing in Adelaide in 1982. Picture: Paul Lakatos

For their 50th anniversary shows, the setlist will be a Chisel’s fan fever dream, with a raft of classics which have stamped their DNA into the Australian soundtrack – Khe Sanh, Bow River, Flame Trees, You Got Nothin’ I Want, When The War Is Over, My Baby, Cheap Wine, All For You, Choir Girl, Saturday Night, Breakfast At Sweethearts, Forever Now and more.

“Every record we’ve made has added to the (fan) playlist and at this point – I’m not saying that we’ll never record again – it’s really about celebrating the 50 years that we’ve got,” Barnes said.

“The great thing that I’ve learnt about Cold Chisel is that it’s never really over. When we get the urge to play, nothing is going to stop us.”

If you have any information about the missing An Evening With The Circus Animals film, leave your details confidentially via this link.

Tickets ranging from $129.90 to $199.90 for the Big Five-0 tour go on sale at noon (local times) on June 4 via links at The pre-sale is live now.


The Big Five-0 Tour

October 5 – Petersons Winery, Armidale, NSW (Red Hot Summer tour)

October 8 – Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre

October 11 – The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney

October 12 – The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, Sydney

October 15 – WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

October 19 – Sandalford Wines, Swan Valley, WA (Red Hot Summer Tour)

October 25 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

October 26 – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

November 2 – Victoria Park, Brisbane

November 3 – Victoria Park, Brisbane

November 6 – Newcastle Entertainment Centre

November 9 – Victoria Park, Ballarat (Red Hot Summer tour

November 13 – MyState Bank Arena, Hobart

November 17 – VAILO Adelaide 500, Post Race Concert, Adelaide (Tickets via Ticketmaster)


An Evening With The Circus Animals tour setlist – April 17, 1982

1. Standing on the Outside

2. Merry-Go-Round

3. Conversations

4. Four Walls

5. Rising Sun

6. Khe Sanh

7. One Long Day

8. Letter to Alan

9. Wild Colonial Boy

10. Choirgirl

11. Breakfast at Sweethearts

12. Cheap Wine

13. Bow River

14. Taipan

15. Numbers Fall

16. Forever Now

17. You Got Nothing I Want

Encore 1

18. The Party’s Over

19. Daskarzine

20. Shake, Rattle and Roll

21. Twist and Shout

22. Don’t Let Go

Encore 2

23. When the War Is Over

24. Hound Dog

25. My Baby

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