I have to admit that although I really like Bic Runga‘s songs, I can’t say that I love them with a passion. And live, I’d seen her once before, playing acoustic in a church in Wellington. The experience was like the songs: good, well crafted, and very pleasant, but not wild passionate great. For me, anyway. It’s more R. and the girls’ thing – R₂ and B₂ sing along in the car, which is a lot more pleasant than endless Wiggles.
This particular gig appealed because of the setting, and the timing – starts at 5-ish, finishing about 7:30 – so we could take the girls and get them home not too late. (What didn’t appeal was the price – $50 per adult – and that you couldn’t take your own food and drink in, which inevitably hiked the cost up for the evening’s entertainment quite substantially.)
So anyway, there we were, the four of us and the girls’ grandparents, with our camp chairs and glasses of wine, surrounded by thousands of other generally middle-aged people. Not for nothing was the show co-promoted with More FM. I found this more disturbing than I should have.
So I went over to have a chat with fellow-Wellingtonista Jessie on the merchandise stall (I didn’t see Joanna, although she was there too somewhere)… exactly at the time that she was trying to listen to Boh Runga singing with Andy Lovegrove of Breaks Co-op. I had no idea, and Jessie, with perhaps more patience than I was due, explained that this chap had come out from the UK just to sing this song with Boh. He had an extraordinary voice (although just I’d managed to talk over most of it). Some more music for me to follow up on.
I recognised only one or two of the songs Boh did, not having made a great study of Stell*r, her band. But then she only played a few songs anyway, a short set of maybe 40 or so minutes.
Just like the other gig, I wasn’t really moved. More fun was had watching B₂ and R₂ finding some new friends and dancing with them. And nearly losing them all as B₂ decided to try and catch up to say hello to Boh Runga by the mixing desk and ended up leading her little sister and her new friends off into the depths of the crowd.
But like me, the crowd didn’t seem overly responsive either, only seeming to come alive at the very end when Bic did a couple of more upbeat songs. And then it was over.
We packed our stuff up, and wandered up the dusty road back to the car (not before losing B₂ again, who had apparently wanted to have a close look at the stage before going back to where we had been sitting, not finding us and instead of being concerned at all helped a winery staff member pick up rubbish).
Generally though, B₂ and R₂ had a pretty good time, and a gentle introduction to attending music gigs. The adults were left mildly disappointed. But only mildly, just like everything else about the gig.
But then on the way home I saw the moon, and the night was saved.