History made: Big Day Out 1994

By Matt Heath

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Matt Heath was in the first band on stage at the first ever Big Day Out in Auckland. The band was called Kid Eternity.

Left-to-right: Phil Brough, Andy Popplewell, Kane Sullivan and Matt Heath.
Left-to-right: Phil Brough, Andy Popplewell, Kane Sullivan and Matt Heath.

Kid Eternity was formed in Dunedin by Chris Stapp, Andy Poppelwell and Phil Brough. After the trio's first practice they decided to get a girl in the band because The Pixies had one. Sadly they couldn't find a female who could play. As luck would have it I was just out of school and in a stink G N' R covers band. I wasn't a girl, but I had long girlie hair so they asked me to join. Kid Eternity was complete and we set about using the band to meet girls and scab beer.

We achieved both goals when we got a call from Auckland saying we were playing the Big Day Out with Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkin. There was a rumour back home that Soundgarden had asked for us by name. That was bollocks, but it made us look cool so we let the rumours fly.

Late January 1994 we hit the road, and one full-on drunken week later we turned up unannounced at Paul Rose's house in Grey Lynn. Being a good dude he let us sleep in his backyard. Five days of looseness in the big city later, it was Big Day Out Day.

Stage four was by the girl's toilets under the West Stand. We couldn't believe how awesome it looked. But suddenly everything turned to shit. We had no guitars, amps, drums, picks, sticks, or leads. Absolutely nothing. The stage manager couldn't believe how stupid we were and told us to "f**k off back to Dunedin". With nothing to play the gig with and one hour till we were on stage, we had no choice but to steal The 3D's gear from the main stage. We got yelled at and chased by security but managed to grab everything we needed.

We rushed back, set up and convinced the stage manager to let us play. Luckily he relented and the show was great. We had a big crowd, we played better than we ever had before and even got a half decent review in the Herald. After the show we found hundreds of beers backstage that we assumed were in the Kid Eternity rider. We drank ourselves stupid before handing the rest over the barrier to girls in the crowd. Turns out we had given away the whole day's beers for all the bands, and security banned us from backstage.

The rest of the day was awesome, stumbling around in the sun watching great acts while we drunk smuggled vodka mixed with smart drinks. Later at the Squid Bar afterparty, Phil and Andy met Chris Cornell. Kim Thayil hit on my mate's girlfriend and our bass player Kane convinced Billy Corgan that he had the clap by screaming in pain at the urinal. Sadly I missed it all, unconscious under a table.

Kid Eternity drifted apart after that great day. Andy and Kane moved to Sydney, Phil moved to London and the band kind of became Deja Voodoo. However, in 2009, exactly 15 years after Kid Eternity's fate-filled appearance, Deja Voodoo played the main stage at the Big Day Out. This time we bought our own gear - but we were still on first.

What: Big Day Out 1994
When: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Where: Saturday 5 February, 1994

Matt Heath hosts Matt Heath Drive with Tiny Tim on Hauraki, 4-7pm weeknights.

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