Grant Walsh            (front of                  house sound)
Chris Newman        (lighting                director)
John Henderson     (monitors)
Gary Radbourne     (keyboards            tech)
Barry Woods        (guitar tech)
Frank Iskra           (drum tech)
Pat Pickett             (stage)
Wayne Rafferty     (stage)
Michael Kent         (rigger               safety officer)
Ross Clunes           (rigger                safety officer)
Doug Brady            (Audio OB           engineer)
Frank Greer           (World                   Stages)
Tom Wilkins          (stage                   builder)

Greg Rosman
Bob Daniels
Rohan Goss
Aaron Woznicki
Glenn Williams


John Farnham
Doc Neeson
Kylie Minogue
Gina Jeffreys
James Blundell
The Living End
The John Farnham Band
The Dili Allstars
The RMC Army Band
Roy and H.G

Lisa Edwards
Stuart Fraser
Joe Creighton
Chong Lim
Lindsay Field
Angus Burchall
Steve Williams
Jack Jones

The LIVE in Dili, East Timor 
21st December, 1999 
 desk tape is to be released on 
Anzac Day, 25th April 2024.

The star-studded International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) Xmas Concert for the Troops

LIVE in Dili, East Timor, 1999 is the 40th release of the Australian Road Crew Association’s (ARCA) Desk Tape Series.

The Series was created by ARCA to raise badly-needed finances for Support Act’s Roadies Fund to provide financial, health, counselling and well-being services for roadies and crew in crisis.

Over 40+ artists have now thrown their hats in the ring to help support those in need.

The Desk Tape Series recordings are made off the sound desk by a crew or production member – in this case front of house sound was mixed by sound engineer Grant Walsh – recorded by Doug Brady – and released on ARCA’s Black Box Records through MGM Distribution and on all major streaming services.

Thanx to Talentworks and Gaynor Wheatley for the photos and VHS tapes of the concert, Nprint for the artwork, Rev. Darren Hewitt for the copy of the recording, Phil Dracoulis for the mastering, and especially all the artists for their support of roadies and crew, and of all Australian defense force veterans. Legends.

​1 You’re The Voice            – All Artists
​I Just Wanna Be With You   – Doc Neeson
​3 Shadow Boxer               – Doc Neeson
She’s So Fine / Sorry    – John Farnham and Doc Neeson
​5 No Secrets                     – Doc Neeson and The Living End
Mambo No.5                  – R.M.C.(Royal Marine Corps) Band
Silent Night                    – Rachael Starkey and the R.M.C Band
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Gina Jeffreys
Dancing With Elvis         – Gina Jeffreys
10 Libertade                      – Dili All Stars
11 Way Out West               – James Blundell
12 Chain Reaction             – John Farnham
13 Have A Little Faith        – John Farnham
14 Playing To Win             – John Farnham
15 Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)    – John Farnham
16 That’s Freedom            – John Farnham
17 You’ll Never Walk Alone   – John Farnham
18 Shout                            – John Farnham & Kylie Minogue
19 Santa Baby                  – Kylie Minogue
20 All Torn Down              -The Living End
21 West End Riots           – The Living End
22 Jingle Bell Rock          – Kylie Minogue and The Living End
23 It’s A Long Way To The Top   – All Artists
24 Take A Long Line                    – All Artists
25 Will I Ever See Your Face Again – All Artists
26 I Still Call Australia Home     – All Artists
“Tour of Duty – Xmas Concert For The Troops” was a benefit concert held on December 21, 1999 in Dili, East Timor, for the Australian troops serving with the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET).


It was meant as a thank-you to the troops whose duties kept them away from their families in Australia during Christmas celebrations.

The show, to 4,000 troops and local civilians, featured John Farnham, Doc Neeson, Kylie Minogue, Gina Jeffreys and her record producer husband Rod McCormack, James Blundell, The Living End, Dili Allstars and the RMC Band, and hosted by Roy Slaven and H. G. Nelson (John Doyle and Greig Pickhaver).

It was televised by the Seven and Nine networks.

John Farnham said shortly after arriving in Dili: “I’ll never be able to explain to my family and friends how I felt being transported in a green truck accompanied by a soldier brandishing arms, and looking at children and women on the streets in what’s been a horrendous situation.”

Added Kylie Minogue: “Even if it takes people’s minds off this situation, even for an hour, I’m fully honoured to be part of it.”

Defence Forces
For the desk tape release of Tour of Duty, ARCA worked closely with the Defence Forces.

The two share a synergy going back years with several ARCA crew members serving in Vietnam or did their national service.

Both associations work tirelessly with members on mental wellbeing and suicide prevention programs, and share ideas.

ARCA co-founder Ian “Piggy” Peel recalls how he was contacted by Colin Taggart, a board member of Pro Patria, an innovative multidisciplinary facility in Wagga Wagga which works with veterans and their families.

“Colin asked, ‘How do you stop suicides?’ Piggy told them, ‘We put people back together and in touch with each other. They understood that they could talk with their mates about things that happened during their time away, that they could not talk to their families about. Being able to do that takes a great weight off your shoulders. It helps to heal the heart and helps the family bond grow stronger’ It made sense for everybody concerned, and it worked.
This is a huge honour for ARCA to be able to release this live show to say thanx to all the troops who keep us safe.”

For the Tour of Duty release, ARCA worked closely with Luke Gosling OAM, who served in East Timor and is MP for Solomon in the Northern Territory.

The Tour of Duty audio was supplied by Rev. Darren Hewitt, a chaplain with returned veterans in South Australia, spiritually dealing with their depression and anxiety.

Twenty years before, Rev. Hewitt planned to set up audio-visual museum Fields of Remembrance in Queensland to commemorate Australia’s involvement in conflicts and wars.
He reached out to Glenn Wheatley about getting an audio recording of Tour of Duty. “Glenn sent me a double CD of AV files.”

Soon after Rev. Hewitt moved to South Australia and the museum plan was put on hold.

The files were forgotten for two decades until he discovered them in a portable MP3 player.

While searching for Archie Roach music on the internet he came across the ARCA website and its splendid star-studded collection of releases.

“I learned more about ARCA and was in awe of what they were doing for crews in crisis.”

With approval from Gaynor Wheatley, Rev. Hewitt offered ARCA the tapes.

“There was such great support for what Australian troops were doing in East Timor, and that was reflected in how the acts were choosing their songs to be directed at them.

“It was a different story for older vets who had served in Vietnam.” Called “baby killers” by protesters and cold-shouldered by the nation and even the RSL, “you can see why there is so much hardship and mental health problems with them.”

Idea Of The Concert
The idea of Tour of Duty started with Doc Neeson, and put together by successful entrepreneur Glenn Wheatley through his company Talentworks.

Doc Neeson                    Glenn Wheatley

“Having done my national service in New Guinea and being an army brat myself, I knew how the troops would have felt at that time of the year,” Neeson said at that time.

“They would have been homesick, felt disconnected and wanted some real entertainment.”

Neeson’s father Bernard Sr had served in the British army in five countries before he brought the family to Australia in April 1960.

Doc was in his last year of teachers’ college in Adelaide when he was drafted into the army.
He was about to be sent to Vietnam as a private when the army realised his teaching background would be better served posting him to Papua New Guinea instead to teach the Pacific Island Regiment, and promoted him to sergeant.


When he returned to Australia, he studied theatre and helped form The Angels.

At the Dili show he brought the place down by appearing in his regiment uniform.

Although all the musicians and production crews donated their fees, Glenn Wheatley still had to find $1 million for production costs.

“The entire infrastructure in Dili has collapsed,” Wheatley revealed. “There is no electricity, running water, cables, generators, roofing or staging.

“Everything has to be taken from Australia.” The stage and camera equipment required eight transport planes.

Australian companies including Westfield Holdings, Compaq Computer, Qantas, Arnotts and Solo donated cash and in kind.

Wheatley reported at the time: “The response from companies has been extraordinary.

“Their December budgets had been allocated but I was banging on their doors saying ‘I need an answer now’. Most responded within a day.”

Compaq Computer provided computers for troops to contact their families and friends by email through the Christmas period, and a dedicated website so cricket fans could check scores, and had their staff on the ground in Dili to help troops have access to the internet.

Booths were set up in Westfield’s shopping centres, where consumers could sponsor, for $25-$35, “Dili bags” of food, drinks, magazines, and other items for the troops.

Calls were made to the artists. Wheatley’s star client, John Farnham, agreed on the spot.


Kylie Minogue, then living in London, was going through an upswing in popularity in Australia, with the Impossible Princess/ Kylie Minogue album spending 35 weeks in the charts and her Intimate And Live tour having to be extended a number of times.


Queensland sheep farmer James Blundell was back in the charts with his sixth studio album Amsterdam Breakfast, was on TV singing the Qantas ad “I Still Call Australia Home”, and had just returned from time off driving around Europe in a van, earning money by busking.

Blundell had military roots too, as the grandson of Captain Peter Blundell of the 2/25th Battalion, who served in the Second World War.


After the Dili Stadium show, he stayed on in East Timor to play unplugged shows with members of the Royal Military College Band. During breaks Blundell also assisted with serving drinks and dedicated “Blundell’s Bar” to his grandfather.
At the time, country singer songwriter Gina Jeffreys was heavily touring, playing six shows a week, every six weeks, with country music loving girls taking up her “Girls Night Out” as an anthem.

When she got her invitation, she cancelled some Australian shows to make the trip.


“I knew what an important event it was going to be,” Jeffreys recalls. “It was exciting but I was also nervous, partly because I seldom go out of my comfort zone, and partly because we were going into a war zone.

“If somebody wanted to make a statement by blowing up an area where thousands of troops and some high-profile Australians were gathered, that would have been the place!”

In 1999, The Living End were the hottest new band. After breaking into the US and UK charts with their “Prisoner of Society”, their first album went to Number One, was certified 4 x platinum, yielded six hits and won two ARIA awards.

“It was definitely surreal to be asked,” remembers singer and guitarist Chris Cheney. “Eighteen months before we were still trying to get our feet in the door, and people like Doc Neeson and Angry Anderson of Rose Tattoo were in the music press about how we were channelling the rock spirit of what they’d done, and that wasn’t lost on us because we’d grown up listening to those bands.

“Suddenly a heavy hitter like Glenn Wheatley was calling our manager, asking us to go to East Timor and the show was going to be televised, and going to be on that concert were people like John Farnham and Kylie Minogue whom we didn’t know and only seen on TV.”

It got more surreal. The phone rang and the voice on the other end was Neeson asking if they would do The Angels’ “No Secrets” with him. A few days later another message: Kylie wants to do a song with you.

For the reggae/ska band Dili Allstars – formed in 1992 and made up of Australian and Timorese expatriates – it was a time for healing.


It was the first time the Timorese members returned to their homeland in 25 years.

For co-founder Paul Stewart, also with the Melbourne band Painters & Dockers, it was where his brother Tony was among five Australian journalists were said to have been shot by Indonesian military forces in Balibo, East Timor, in 1975.

The band came together after Stewart and Gil Santos met each other at a political rally protesting Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor.

Stewart would say, “I lost one brother there but Gil is my brother now.’”

Their song “Libertade” became an anthem for Timorese resistance forces, and the band played at East Timor’s Independence Concert in 2002.

After inoculations, the cast and crew met in a Melbourne arena for rehearsals and a final run-through.

Cheney: “The Living End played twice as fast as we should have, it was 100 mph or not at all.

“Doc was like, ‘Whoah, whoah, guys, just bring it back a bit!’. He was a lovely man, a real gentle giant, so kind and with a real presence.”

At this point of time, none of the others knew that Neeson was in terrible pain.
Three weeks before he’d been involved in a car crash on the Sydney M4 motorway. A car in front slammed on its brakes, forcing the lanky singer to do the same.

A truck drove right into him, causing severe whiplash and spinal damage that affected his walk for the next few years. He left The Angels after his doctor warned that future physical performances would see him end up in a wheelchair.

The Undercover website’s Paul Cashmere reported that he “still performed for the troops under a lot of pain and upon his return became a regular patient trying to overcome chronic back and neck pain as well as blurred vision”.
On December 19, Qantas flew the entourage to Darwin. The next morning, it was a rough and noisy ride to Dili in an army plane.

Jeffreys: “It was so hot when we got out of the plane! I was born in Queensland, and still had not felt that sort of heat.

“When you took a shower, by the time you were towelled yourself off, you were sweating again.

“We all sweated … all except Kylie, who never once sweated or had one hair out of place!”

Chris Cheney: “It was a different world. Military escorts, jumping into green trucks, all the guys were armed. This was no holiday destination!”


Farnham, Neeson and Minogue went to visit other units while the others prepared themselves for the show.

Jeffreys: “Each of us was assigned a high-level soldier. They were never more than a metre and a half from us, always, even in the shower and the toilet.

“They took turns to protect us, even when we were sleeping. The boys slept in one tent, and Kylie and I were in another.

“Throughout the night, tanks were circling the tents. They never stopped protecting us, they made us feel safe in an unsafe environment.”

As to be expected, it was an emotional show, both for the performers and for the audience.

John Farnham stole the show, in top voice throughout, causing tears during “You’re The Voice” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

Chris Cheney: “When John hit that really high note at the end, it was spine-tingling. Twenty-five years later, I am still transported back to that moment.
“That voice, the way he hit the note, and the whole atmosphere. You felt very lucky to be there. Seeing the look of joy on the faces of the troops, they were having the time of their lives.”
Roy and HG harangued the crowd to get Farnham to sing his “Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)”, which he reluctantly but cheerfully did.


Gina Jeffreys: “I remember distinctly standing on the stage and looking at the sea of soldiers.

“This one lady looked up at me and she just had tears streaming down her face and she mouthed ‘Thank you.’

“They were so thankful that we would be there, and thinking of them at that time of the year, and with TV coverage as well. It was massive and they felt seen and appreciated.

“I came off the stage afterwards and spoke to her, and she made me cry because she was over there protecting someone else’s children while her children were at home during Christmas.

“I bawled my eyes out, that really moved me.”

Chris Cheney: “Years later I still meet people who tell me they were in the audience, and how magical it was.

“We were a lot more raw and more aggressive than the other acts, and I think we were chosen to appeal to the younger crowd.
“It worked, they were singing along to all our songs and even threw in a couple of ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi! Oi! Oi!’ in for us!”

The chant that set everyone off was on the group singalong of the Doc-penned Angels hit “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?”.


It started out as a sad song about a friend who lost his girlfriend in a motorbike accident, and would be played at farewell parties, 21st bashes and funerals.

But in wild sweaty pubs, when Doc sang the title, the crowds would unanimously sing back “No way, get f*****, f*** off!”


As the performers and audience cheerfully led the chant as loudly as they could, Roman Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo reached over and, puzzled, asked Major General Peter Cosgrove, “Mr General, what are they singing?”

Embarrassed, the respected army man replied,
“Lord Bishop, I really can’t quite make it out”.

Then Ramos Horta (face of Timor’s resistance and later its Nobel-winning prime minister and president) looked at the Major General.

“I could tell that he could make it out!”

Bernard Patrick “Doc” Neeson was born on 4 January 1947 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
He sadly lost his battle with cancer in Australia on 4th June 2014.
One of Doc’s great legacies was the Tour Of Duty Concert for the Troops in Dili, East Timor. Legend.
Safe travels and thanx from all of us.