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From the Where2sing.com stories:
The Great Karaoke Escape 2004/05

DAY 17

Last night at the Hard Rock Cafe was really good, but the days of driving have caught up with me - if I'm not driving, or drinking at karaoke, I seem to be almost permanently at my notebook catching up on emails. A website is supposed to be something that just runs irself, but I set myself the mission, a while back, to build the W2S site into a karaoke community, and thus I fee the need to answer every email personally.

So, last night at karaoke, I was content to sit and watch. The Hard Rock Cafe is a small place, but it's in a prime position, and the crowd seemed consist of a few holidaymakers who had come in for a drink and a fairly quiet time. But the host, who I had met previously at John Preston Special Events, was energetic and entertaining, and to simply watch still made for a great evening. When I contrasted the night with that previously had at Coffs Harbour, I again wonder what is really so difficult about putting on a great karaoke show.

Actually, this host did have to work quite hard, firstly because not many people seemed inclined to sing (though they were very supportive of those who did), and because many who did sing also needed a fair bit of help. I liked this venue, and the relaxed (but mature) atmosphere - not that I had expected this from a place called the Hard Rock Cafe. The sound system suited the place, the songlist was comprehensive, and it had all the hallmarks of a well organised night.

I'm here on the Gold Coast for a couple of days, with the mission of catching up on emails and reviews by day, and karaoking by night. And, possibly finding a little time to walk on the beach in the beautiful Gold Coast sunshine. So, after three hours of working on emails and venue listings, I wander off to the beach to enjoy the hottest part of the day on the sand, get slightly burned, and come back to put in several more hours of catching up on reviews and emails.

I also have a look at the options for karaoke on this Saturday night, and consider one of the couple of clubs. But there's one place that I think will be representative of local weekend karaoke, and that's the Lone Star Tavern - and it looks as though it's only five minutes' driving from where I'm staying.

Saturday evenings, early on in the night, hold me captive for two reasons: Firstly, there's the SBS show to watch, then there's the Radio 2GB spot with Pete Graham.

One of Pete Graham's listeners, Ice-Elvis, will be listening and critiquing my performance, so I bear in mind that I must do a little preparation for this 2 minute spot. Am I in NSW or am I in Queensland? It's important that I keep track of the time, as there's an hour's different between the two, and Pete Graham expects to talk to me at 7:45 Sydney time. I seem to be on Queensland time, and after a short while of keeping one eye on SBS, see that I'm going to be talking to Pete Graham before the SBS program comes on local TV.

Pete is on time with his call, seems to have slightly lost track of where I am this week. Then, a few minutes later, the SBS show is entertaining - and looks a lot more 'alive' than the first couple in the series.

Now it's time to find the Lone Star Tavern.

Actually, it looks as though it's pretty close to the motel, but as I drive along the correct road, I can see no sign of it. I check my map, and cautiously head back, intersection by intersection. I'm here, but I still can't see it - ah, wait a minute, there it is. No lights on, mostly empty carpark, and no obvious entrance to the bar. Never mind - it's worth a shot.

But first I see a great Chinese restaurant across the road, and, near to it, a fish shop. The Chinese restaurant seems to be well patronised and have rather a wait, so I choose something from the fish shop as I want to be on time for the start of the karaoke across the road.

Having parked in the largely empty carpark, I struggle to find the Lone Star Tavern entrance. I see a couple of people going in through a dark, though large, doorway, and when I follow them I find I'm in a Sports Bar which also seems to be the Lone Star Tavern. And there's the stage with karaoke set up to run, so I know I'm in the right place. It's nearly 8:30, the time at which an earlier call to the bar revealed as the start time, but 8:30 passes and there's no move to start karaoke.

I watch the people playing pool, and wonder whether these people will be singers. But as the time heads towards 9pm, they start packing up their cues and heading out, and very promptly at 9pm the karaoke starts. (Read more in the review already published on the W2S site).

Read more singers' stories, and write your own karaoke story, on Where2sing.com . . .

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