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'INTO THE ARENA’ (M. Schenker) by PHIL EMMANUEL (c. 1998) Shot in a Brisbane home studio in just three takes, Phil recorded Michael Schenker's guitar classic prior to the Sydney Olympics in the hope it would be picked up as The Games theme. It's playing typifies Phil's cache of style & trickery. Soft & sweet turning heavy metal. Wavering harmonics & tremolo a la The Shadows, Phil's favourite. Tarantula fingers, lightning speed. Grimacing face force-feeding near impossible progressions. An occasional smile to reflect inner joy. And instant return to the comical street larrikin after the final note. There was considerable controversy when Phil & Tommy weren't intially chosen to perform at the Games closing ceremony, causing a fan-based protest to get them there, until finally at the very last minute, success. ‘Arena’ was expected to be the track they'd perform but they instead chose 'Terra Firma' by the Hellecasters, for Phil's view 'the best guitar band in the world'. Two-way justice prevailed. Rightfully taking place alongside the likes of INXS, Midnight Oil, Men At Work, Yothu Yindi, Barnsie & Slim Dusty, reflected their legendary status. Winning the closest IOC camera position to their stage to become witness to long-overdue recognition for 'Jack Adgery' & 'Billy Nudgel’ was my reward and a lifelong highlight.

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