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Sing Us a Song, You’re the Piano Man

Mindil Beach Casino Resort brings the nostalgic vibes this New Year's Eve, with the return of a Darwin favourite.

If you belted out a tune at the Casino in the 80s or 90s, there’s a good chance Chris O’Brien – sporting a mullet and wearing tight blue jeans – was leading your tune on the piano at Sweethearts.

The Casino’s iconic piano bar was the place to be in the 80s and 90s, where a wide range of music lovers, from politicians through to tradies, gathered for a good time. Mindil Beach Casino Resort takes you back in time to the heyday of Sweethearts this New Year’s Eve – complete with O’Brien, the original piano man at the keys.

“Sweethearts was the place where every part of society met and would have a ball, singing at the top of their lungs,” O’Brien says.

“It was a different era back then – people didn’t go out to get drunk, they went out with one thing in mind – to have a good time.

The entire room of two to three hundred people would be singing at the top of their voice. As a piano player back then, you felt more like a conductor at times, not a performer.”

In preparation for the special one-off event, O’Brien, who hasn’t performed for years, says he spoke with a local musician working the circuit to find out what songs still get revellers singing along.

“I was curious to see how far out-of-date I was,” he laughs.

“What was absolutely breathtaking is that a lot of the songs from that era – ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, ‘American Pie’, ‘Mustang Sally’ – they’re all in today’s current playlists. I think when people go out to have a good time, they want to be part of something. The 80s were a moment in time where songwriters wrote songs that were inclusive. They wrote songs that people could sing along to.”

O’Brien is expecting to see a lot of familiar faces from the original Sweetheart days, even if they look a little different 30 years on.

“I reckon it’s going to be a very, very funny night. I think there’s going to be a couple of hundred people who will recognise each other, who may not have seen each other for a long, long time. Back then, I could fit in to tight blue jeans and I had a mullet – now I can’t fit in to tight jeans and am bald,” he laughs.

So brush up on lyrics from Billy Joel and Elton John, and re-live a beloved part of Darwin history.

Sweethearts NYE Party

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