• Organiser/Event Creative Director: Stephen Hall & 104.1 2DayFM (for the Festival Of Sydney 1990)
  • Fireworks Provider: Syd Howard Fireworks
  • Radio Broadcaster: 104.1 2DayFM
  • Sponsors: Coca-Cola & HMV
  • Attendance: 1,000,000 (100,000 in The Rocks)
Stereo Skyshow 1989 Newspaper - 'The Concert In The Sky' Advertisement
Stereo Skyshow 1989 Newspaper – ‘The Concert In The Sky’ Advertisement.  Photograph: Fab Sydney Flashbacks. Newspaper: The Sunday Telegraph. Advertisement: Stereo Skyshow.


Tina Turner watched the display from a boat on the Harbour.

Crowd Management

The Daily Mirror reported 1 teenage girl collapsed on a footpath and taken away in an ambulance while 34 people were cut from glass missiles and beer cans in The Rocks. However, Chief Inspector Of The Rocks, John Hayes, said The Rocks visitors were on their best behaviour. After 1:30am, he said “This is as bad as it will get”.

Festival Of Sydney 1990 – Shake It Up

You can read the entire month-long program of the Festival Of Sydney 1990 – Shake It Up (including Australia Day In Sydney 1990 events) here:

Stereo Skyshow

This was the 1st 9pm Family Fireworks. 9pm was chosen as the time due to the violent past of the event. The 9pm Family Fireworks are thus critical to the success of every subsequent edition.

This first edition began at 8:55pm with the fireworks beginning at 9pm. It was fired from 3 barge locations:

  • Northern boundary of Sydney Cove
  • North of Sydney Opera House
  • Between Fort Dension & Mrs Macquaries’ Point

6000 shells were used in this display.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge was only used for a light show and not for fireworks.

Fireworks Soundtrack

This is only the 1st 6 minutes and 17 seconds of the fireworks soundtrack. If you have the remaining 19 or so minutes, can you please contact us?

The display had a 5-minute opening overture sequence from 8:55pm, which we presumed involved no fireworks being fired or at least strobing stationary flares on the barges but it was mainly just used to build atmosphere down on the Harbour. We believe the first aerial shells were fired in the final tunes of Billy Idol’s Hot In The City (after the host says ‘Concert In The Sky!‘).

Fireworks soundtrack, sound effects & quotes is below written in chronological order:

(Jet sound effect)

  1. In The Air Tonight (Ben Liebrand ’88 Remix – Extended Version) – Phil Collins

CONTROL: “All crews we commit to program in 5 minutes. Please advise your status in line with check schedule A (Alpha). Engineering?”

ENGINEERING: “Yeah, time codes now transmitting and we’re, uh, ok on all stations, uh, and redundancy systems are on hot standby”

CONTROL: “Uh, security?”

SECURITY: “All personnel on station”

CONTROL: “Audio, have you resolved that, uh, multi-path problem yet?”

AUDIO: “Affirmative, we’re 100%”

CONTROL: “Alright, let’s hear it now for pyrotechnics barges 1 to 3”

PYROTECHNIC BARGE 1: “Barge 1 here, all green on the board”

PYROTECHNIC BARGE 2: “Barge 2, all ok, uh, could do with a little more level on primary cues”

CONTROL: “Uh, audio, this is control, did you copy that?”

AUDIO: “Yeah, we’ll take care of it”

CONTROL: “Barge 3, what, what was your status?”

PYROTECHNIC BARGE 3: “All green here”

CONTROL: “7 k bridge crew, uh, can you give a report please?”

7 K BRIDGE CREW: “Uh, all 4 units are at, uh, 10 metres and we are on standby”

CONTROL: “Ok, uh, power services?”

POWER SERVICES: “Power services here and again, the units are up and running. We had have a bit of a skip with the Waratah units. All frequency fluctuation but we’re on the job, we’ll fix it”

CONTROL: “Uh, alright, ok, you got 4 minutes to resolve that”

POWER SERVICES: “Yeah, no problem”

CONTROL: “Skytrackers 1 through 5”

SKYTRACKER 1: “Unit 1 ok”

SKYTRACKER 2: “Tracker 2 ok”

(radio silence)

CONTROL: “Skytracker 3, your status?”

SKYTRACKER 3: “3 here, can you hold on a minute?”

CONTROL: “Uh, ok. Tracker 4?”


CONTROL: “Right, tracker 3, uh, tell us where you’re at?”

SKYTRACKER 3: “Yeah, hold on”

CONTROL: “Uh, tracker 3, state your position. Tracker 3?”

SKYTRACKER 3: “Uh, it’s ok. Uh, motor drive had a small fault. Seems operational now.”

CONTROL: “All crews. Police, MSB & Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol to secure the perimeter, please go now to your assigned frequencies. The final tone will occur on those frequencies at 2 minute warning. (off 2-way radio) It’s a beautiful bang!”

(2 minute warning final tone)

CONTROL: “All crews. Standby. We have 30 seconds. 30 seconds to show time. Standby for the 10 second countdown”

(radio silence)

CONTROL: “15 seconds”

(long ‘dung’ sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)

JOHN WILLIAM “JACK” KING: “Ignition sequence starts. 6”

(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(pow sound effect)


(long ‘woh’ sound effect)

2. Hot In The CityBilly Idol

HOST: (in echo at times) “Welcome To 104.1 2DayFM’s Stereo Skyshow presented by Coca-Cola & HMV. Stereo Skyshow combines the resources of engineers, writers, producers, announcers, musicians, pyrotechnians, 12 TONNE OF FIREPOWER and your imagination. Tonight, in the sky above Sydney Harbour, you’ll see a new constellation with a galaxy of glittering stars, supernovas, blazing comets. Are the red moons of Jupiter orbiting beneath a canopy of colour all in concert with the magic of music? 2Day FM’s Stereo Skyshow –  a musical salute to the decade and Sydney’s first ever Concert In The Sky!”

(Jet sound effect)

3. ? (If you know the tune, please contact us!”)

Other artists to feature in the soundtrack include INXS, Midnight Oil, John Farnham, Icehouse, John Lennon, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and more.

What happened to Skytracker 5?