Eskimo Joe aimed to match the stadium rock feats of their heroes U2 on chart-topping albums Black Fingernails, Red Wine and Inshalla.
A decade later, the Fremantle rockers will beat Bono’s band to WA’s biggest stage when they lead the pre-match entertainment at Perth’s inaugural State of Origin match at Optus Stadium on June 23.
“It was a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Eskimo Joe frontman Kav Temperley said yesterday.
“It only took about 15 years to get there.”
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In November, U2 are due to play the stadium, which has also hosted Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and Eminem since opening last year.
Temperley admitted that when Eskimo Joe play ARIA Award-winning 2006 hit Black Fingernails, Red Wine plus popular singles From the Sea and Sarah, it will be his debut at Optus Stadium.
“It’s going to be amazing for my first experience being to totally rock out and do a live-to-air performance,” he said.
A national TV audience of 3.2million tuned in to watch Queensland beat NSW 18 to 14 in State of Origin game one at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 5.
Organisers expect more than 55,000 fans to attend game two in Perth.
Temperley said Eskimo Joe were “absolutely stoked” to be playing on one of the biggest stages Australian sport has to offer “in our very own state of origin”.
The 40-year-old rocker said that with a track called Sydney Song on their debut, he has to barrack for the Blues.
The former number-one ticket holders for the Fremantle Dockers are no strangers to the atmosphere of blockbuster sporting events, having played the 2011 NRL Grand Final to nearly 82,000 people at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Temperley says that performance in the midst of a national tour felt like a blur.
“It was only afterwards that we realised there were flame-throwers and full-on dance routines going on around us,” he laughed.
“We were just concentrating on trying to play well.”
After six albums from 2001 debut Girl to 2013’s Wastelands, Temperley and band mates Stuart MacLeod and Joel Quartermain put Eskimo Joe on the back-burner.
Last month they played Black Fingernails, Red Wine in its entirety at a sold-out gig at Freo.Social and again in Port Douglas.
The gigs helped the band get match-fit for Origin, joked Temperley, who added that Eskimo Joe are “ramping up” for a return to national touring in 2020.
“We’re finally stepping out of our sabbatical and back into our Eskies pants again.”
NRL chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo said it was important to showcase a WA band at the first ever Origin game in Perth.
“We’re delighted that this time it’s Fremantle locals Eskimo Joe who get to kick off the pre-match show on home turf,” he said.