Icehouse Cancels Sydney Opera House Concert as Iva Davies Struggles With COVID-19 ‘Aftereffects’

Icehouse has canceled its upcoming performance at the Sydney Opera House as band leader Iva Davies battles with the “ongoing aftereffects” of COVID-19.

The ARIA Hall of Fame-inducted act postponed a pair of performances last month, part of the Great Southern Land 2022 – The Concert Series, due to ill health.

First, a show Nov. 19 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl was put on ice, when Davies contracted the novel coronavirus.

“We have very strict protocols around our travel and performance schedule but somewhere I contracted COVID-19 despite all my vaccinations,” Davies said at the time.

“I am devastated to have to postpone the concert but the impact of the infection means that I am having difficulty breathing and certainly couldn’t manage to sing a full show.”

A week later, the ‘80s legends scrapped its concert Nov. 26 at Brisbane’s Riverstage.

“Despite getting good care from my doctor since I was diagnosed with COVID-19, my condition hasn’t improved,” Davies explained in a statement, issued Nov. 24. “As with so many other COVID sufferers, the effects of the infection are lasting a lot longer than I hoped. The difficulties I am having with breathing mean that I cannot sing for the duration of an Icehouse performance.”

Question marks lingered on whether Davies would be fit for next Monday’s (Dec. 12) performance at the forecourt of the iconic Sydney venue.

Then, on Wednesday (Dec. 7), Icehouse and promoter Live Nation announced the show would not go on.

“I am so very, very sorry to have had to cancel this show. Any of you who know my history will be aware of how special my relationship with the Opera House is,” Davies writes on a social post.

“From the age of 14 I walked past it once a week to attend my oboe lessons at the Conservatorium when it was still a building site, little knowing that at 18 I would be playing in the orchestra in the new Opera Theatre for the first operas performed there.” He continues, “I performed on the Concert Hall stage as an oboist as well. I sang in two ballets that I composed for the Sydney Dance Company that opened in the Opera Theatre. And then, of course, there was the performance on the forecourt of the 25-minute extended piece ‘The Ghost of Time’ based on ‘Great Southern Land’ which led to the countdown into the new Millennium for Sydney.”

The Melbourne (Feb. 11, 2023) and Brisbane (Feb. 18, 2023) shows has been rescheduled. The Sydney show, however, is wiped out due to no alternative date being available, a statement confirms.

Icehouse is one of Australia’s post-punk gifts to the music world. Emerging fully-formed as Flowers, Davies and Co. dropped Icehouse in 1980, an album stacked with gems that haven’t lost any of their lustre, including “We Can Get Together,” “Walls” and “Can’t Help Myself.”

Davies adopted the band Icehouse and had an instant classic with the synth-powered album Primitive Man, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary. It’s lead track “Great Southern Land” is an unofficial anthem of this country, and “Hey Little Girl” cracked the U.K. top 20, peaking at No. 17 (album track “Street Café” charted at No. 62).

A U.S. breakthrough would come with the 1987 album Man of Colours, which yielded two top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 – “Crazy” (No. 14) and “Electric Blue” (No. 7).

Icehouse was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006.

Lars Brandle