Powderfinger guitarists test acoustics in underground rock set

Cross River Rail has played host to not one but two guitarists from Brisbane’s most iconic rock band, for an incredible one-off performance more than 30 metres below the city in the project’s massive Albert Street cavern.

Powderfinger lead guitarists Darren Middleton and Ian Haug belted out sections from some of the legendary outfit’s greatest hits, as squealing solos reverberated around the 290-metre-long cavern, about 34 metres below Brisbane’s CBD.


The intimate “underground rock” set was performed before a small group of Cross River Rail workers and timed to catch a short window in the works program before the huge cavern will be filled with permanent features, including the station platform.

Cross River Rail Delivery Authority CEO Graeme Newton said during construction of the project’s three other underground station caverns, work crews would regularly discuss how good the acoustics would be and whether a performance could be arranged.

“With construction progressing well, Albert Street is the last of our open underground caverns and this was really the last opportunity to try it out,” Mr Newton said.

“We wanted to do something that was quintessentially ‘Brisbane’, and it doesn’t get much more ‘Brisbane’ than having two-fifths of Powderfinger shredding hard underground almost directly below where Festival Hall once stood.

“Powderfinger last played Festival Hall in 2001, so it was a really special moment to be able to host Darren and Ian in such a unique way so close to the site of the iconic venue more than 20 years later.

“We thank Darren and Ian for their time and their generosity in helping out with our experiment, which sounded absolutely incredible.”

Mr Newton said besides the performance’s cultural significance, it also provided a unique and creative way to help keep the public informed about construction activities underway.

“While Cross River Rail will transform how we travel to, from and through Brisbane, it does mean there are construction impacts now,” he said.

“Performances like this are just one of the many ways we’re raising project awareness and keeping the community informed about ongoing works.”