By Wal Reid
Date / Venue: Saturday February 7th, Ascension Wine Estate, Matakana
It's not every day when you're faced with the dilemma of seeing four of your favourite Kiwi recording artists. It's a malady that is easily remedied, well, more a quandary than a life or death situation: enter the ninth annual Winery Tour at the drop-dead hella-scenic Ascension Winery Estate in Matakana.
The Winery Tours are the hot ticket in summer party revelry, I mean, sun, vino and music from Aotearoa's crème de la crème on a picturesque Kiwi vineyard, what's not to like? Not even Riverhead ‘giganaire' Kim Dotcom could pull off an event of this magnitude on Waitangi weekend (he probably could but he'd want to DJ).
When it comes to shucking out singer/song-writers we punch above our weight. Stalwarts Anika Moa, Dave Dobbyn & Don McGlashan don't come any bigger. Combined, their knack for writing simply great songs etched forever in a nation's memory is probably an understatement. No one could accuse Anika Moa of being laxidasical, in fact the opposite could be said. Her sometimes outlandish remarks have often stopped even her in her tracks, however she was in fine spirits with keyboardist Jol Mulholland as kids flocked around her as she played songs from Youthful, Dreams to My Old Man, she has an amazing voice, her rapport although a little brazen is equally refreshing as she touted her kids CDs "I only need to sell twenty CDs to break even ..awkward..."
As soon as Dave Dobbyn opened with his signature ‘God Bless' it was all on. Dominion Road never sounded so good, always got me how a pot-holed ridden arterial road in Auckland could inspire such a brilliant song. Language followed as the hits came quick firing out, DD Smash's Whaling was eagerly lapped up by the audience as well as sentimental favourites the Dude's iconic Be Mine Tonight and New Zealand's second national anthem Loyal, complete with rent-a-crowd backing vocals, and that was only starters.
Personally, highlights were the superb Muttonbird's Heater, its undulating line "come on and plug me in" complete with Don on the horn held the audience at frenzy point, while crowd karaoke hit Slice of Heavenwith the Supergroove boys on for Herb's harmony parts stole the audience who were well and truly gone, their onstage synergy and banter free flowing and natural. How these two performers have escaped being national taonga is beyond me.
It always amazes me the power of mind, those memories deep within that are evoked when a song from the past comes on: enter 90s funk meisters Supergroove. Well, if there was any acrimony in the past it was sure hard to tell, as Che and the boys kicked off their highly charged set with Next Time before ripping into the SG back catalogue of goodies: Can't Get Enough complete with trumpeter Tim Stewart's voiceover of "Reminiscent of my man, Mike Plato" the metal fury of Scorpio Girls & Freak Me, You Gotta Know or Sitting Inside My Head had the most hard-core vineyard picnicker up on their feet as Karl quipped "There's more people here than grapes".
Steven's exaggerated stage moves complemented Che's hip-hop cool as the band proved they still have the chops and crowd pull power 20 years later, no mean feat. The addition of Che Fu songs Fade Away & Misty Frequencies with Anika Moa singing lead were given the Supergroove makeover. I predict the future of NZ music will be Supergroove clone bands, what comes around I say.
However Dave Dobbyn's Welcome Home for me sums up the night wonderfully against the blood moon. "There's a woman with her hands trembling" - haere mai".
A fitting tribute to a beautiful Waitangi weekend. Dave Dobbyn's Loyal is up there with Thomas Bracken'sGod Defend New Zealand, however national pride and sentimentality were the winners on the day.