More FM Summer Vineyard Tour - Opshop, Missy Higgins, Aardhna, Che Fu

Artists:  Opshop, Missy Higgins, Aaradhna, Che Fu

Date / Venue:  Saturday 23rd February, Turanga Creek Winery, Auckland

We arrived to Che Fu's opening song - winding our way through a quiet but appreciative crowd, to find what we thought would be a nice position - a little to the right of the stage, but not too far back. We settled in as he worked his way through a great set - and then introduced Aaradhna, with soul sensation Bella Kalolo on backing vocals. The token system of buying drinks, while a little overly complicated at first, worked well - and with a nice bottle of red in hand, it was time to sit back and enjoy the rest of the evening. A great family atmosphere - lots of little people running around, and a general sense of people who had come to have a good time regardless of the music!

To fill in the time between his set and Missy Higgins, Che Fu showed off his budding DJ skills - he's definitely not the most technical DJ in town but it kept things moving along, and his song choice was entertaining.

Then came the artist many in the crowd had come to see - Missy Higgins. She delivered a fantastic set, full of energy, great songs, wonderfully executed. Unfortunately the overall effect was a little underwhelming from where we were sitting at least. Her act has a far more acoustic sound, and either the sound system wasn't up to task, or the sound guys didn't compensate adequately. Sound on an outdoor gig like this one is always difficult, especially as the Turanga Creek setting isn't really a natural ampitheatre in any way. I've heard her play with a similar lineup in a smaller, indoor setting, and the material certainly isn't at fault! I movedaround the venue while she was playing, and up closer to the stage was obviously a much better sound - unfortunately not one my wife was able to experience - at 6 months pregnant she wasn't about to brave the crush close up to the stage.

There were no problems with hearing the next act - Opshop, the headline act, also had headline sound. They delivered their usual highly professional set, with a good mix of new material and old favourites. Stephen Small made a welcome addition to the line up, with an introduction showcasing his keyboard virtuosity. These guys seem to get slicker every time I see them, a genuinely world class outfit!

All up it was a fantastic evening, and a great mix of acts - these shows are on their way to becoming a New Zealand institution.