Dragon - Acoustic Church Tour
St Paul Cathedral, Hamilton
If your band is over 30, let's face it: you're going to church. For others (Dobbyn & McGlashan, EnzSo), holy tours have worked to varying degrees of success. But does playing in a church mean you've turned your back on rocking out for the acoustics?
Have you resigned yourself to becoming a heritage act for the grey hair circuit? Thankfully, this isn't the case for Dragon: they've passed the 40th anniversary and still sound like a new group with something to prove.
Comprising of original member Todd Hunter, vocalist Mark Williams, Paul Drummond and Bruce Reid, St. Paulsl has put the konk back into Dragon's konkaroo. The acoustic rearrangements show that they care, that they haven't thrown in the towel. There are still moments that groove with the Ponsonby spirit of old.
The set starts with an acapella Still in Love with You, one of their great, oft forgotten songs. The dated production has been stripped away, revealing something a bit more organic, a bit more human. Williams is also an affable, lovely front-man with a stellar voice - he can also wail like a blind boy from Alabama.
A number of tunes are filtered through bluesy, brooding rumbles (Body & the Beat, Get That Jive), whilst the big singles in faithful renditions (April Sun in Cuba, Rain). For fans of the musicians behind the sound, this is their night. With colours morphing in the stage's backdrop, it seemed as though the ghosts of Dragons past loomed above the men on stage. It may be the best they've ever sounded too.
Overall, Dragon have put on a thoroughly enjoyable show, rightfully reclaiming songs that have been stolen by cover bands. An inspiring listen and a new reason to reassess a classic Kiwi act.