Gibbston Winery Summer Concert

America at Gibbston

America at Gibbston

Bachman & Turner at Gibbston

Bachman & Turner at Gibbston

Neil Giraldo & Pat Benatar at Gibbston

Neil Giraldo & Pat Benatar at Gibbston

the 15,000 strong crowd of people mostly my age at Gibbston

the 15,000 strong crowd of people mostly my age at Gibbston

Anne and I were fortunate enough to join some Dunedin friends for a weekend at Wanaka and share Saturday afternoon with 15,000 others at the Gibbston Valley concert featuring America, Bachman & Turner, and Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo.
Summary:
1. you kind of had to be 50 or thereabouts to have your heart warmed… 15,000 were there and my guess is that 14,900 were within 4-5 years of my age!  Kind of creepy really – we tended to look our ages!
2. the music was great – I mean it… but there is one truth that hadn’t really dawned on me until the musicians came on stage – the musicians were at least 8 years older than me when they were hitting it big in the 70’s.  Actually Pat was 8 years older than me – all the other guys were 15+ years older… and they kind of looked it, their voices were less what they once were, and they had learned to minimise movement in order to last the distance… but they were still wonderful musicians – their playing was exemplary.
3. the crowd were pretty good – maybe they could not move like they once did on dance floors (and honestly, people my age shouldn’t hang out in mosh pits!), but they were happy in a worn down by life kind of way.  It was a good day away from the kids and grandkids.  There might have been a bit too much wine consumed in some quarters, but I guess the heat of the day called for desperate measures!
4. I wondered what rest homes will be like in 30 years… will bands come and play ‘We belong’ ‘Horse with no name’ and ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’ to entertain us?
5. The landscape – wonderful – dry, barren, hard and beautiful.
6. America – first up and the big surprise for me.  They were very very good.  These guys said they have been performing at least 100 concerts a year for over 40 years!  I recognised most of the songs, they had been very much in the background of my youth and not really to my taste – but I was really impressed.  The highlights for me were a few tracks from an album of songs they had released recently from a list of songs they wished they had written (other people’s stuff) – excellently played guys!!  And, the horse still has no name!
7. Bachman + Turner.  They were the reason I organised my mates from Dunedin some time last year.  Mark, Graham and I all had the Not Fragile album in 1974 – our 13-year-old minds being formed by crap lyrics but great guitars, drums and bass.  CF Turner still sounds as gruff as he always did and he looks like he might well have driven long-haul trucks across the prairies, but his bass playing was astounding and he loved his day job!  Randy Bachman was puffing a bit at times and had minimised his movements – not much show but stunning guitar work.  Awesome guys!  Awesome!  Highlights: CF Turner still gruff, and Randy looking like an old man but still working magic with that guitar.
8. Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo – a wee bit too loud, but punchy and energetic.  The classics were fantastic and a whole lot of wahine (women) sang and bopped in a floppy kind of way in the extended mosh area and it was obvious that Pat was big in their early years.  Pat looked great and sang jolly well for a 60-year-old – it was good to be around this couple who have an obviously great and long relationship.  Highlights: We Belong and Heartbreaker with a brilliant version of Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire in the middle.
9. Great venue, but absolute rubbish car marshalling at the end – honestly, it was chaos and incompetence mixed with angry and frustrated drivers with carloads of often too much alcohol-filled passengers – I did my bit to help with marshalling and after an hour and ten minutes our cars had still not moved – fortunately we were rescued by the discovery of a back way out of the paddock.  Please, please, please next time charge us $5 more and employ some specialists to come up with a better plan… actually, just come up with a plan because there surely wasn’t a plan that day!  One intimidated, overwhelmed, and incompetent teenager in a fluro-vest is not a plan!
10. Who’s next?  Can I suggest Mark Knopfler and Talking Heads?  Though Hothouse Flowers would be great!

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