An irreverent, energetic Gin Wigmore was a crowd favourite at the Classic Hits Winery Tour at Neudorf Vineyard last night.
People who had spent the previous two hours lolling on picnic chairs and blankets suddenly found their feet and rushed to the stage when Wigmore arrived, and the raspy-voiced star gratified them by belting out hits from her latest album, Gravel & Wine, which has already gone double platinum in New Zealand.
The travelling tour, which was conceived at Neudorf, traditionally focuses on the best of New Zealand wine, scenery and music, and the 1600-strong crowd last night did not seem disappointed.
A sea of picnic chairs greeted late arrivals to the vineyard, and children played on the lawns as sprinklers misted the vines in the distance. Revellers dined from hampers and sipped wine in the late afternoon sun. They were well installed by the time opening-act APRA silver scroll winners Avalanche City came on stage at 6pm, and as the night progressed became increasingly well-oiled.
"It's a big turnout for Nelson," said concert-goer Rachael Stevenson, 29, and added that the vines, the sun and the setting made for a "pretty unique Nelson experience."
Nelsonians Wayne Askew and Marie Wadsworth met on a blind date at another Gin Wigmore headliner almost exactly two years ago, and the pair were pleased to see her again. "Gin is our idol," Ms Wadsworth said. "We love her."
A newly reformed The Muttonbirds were well-received. "This could be vaguely reminiscent of something you know," singer Don McGlashan said, teasing the crowd with the first few chords of Dominion Road. Nature also drew big cheers.
It was the eighth of 17 shows in a nationwide tour that concludes in Auckland on March 3, and a second sold-out show will be held at Neudorf tonight. Concert co-promoter Campbell Smith said he was pleased to be back in one of his favourite spots. "[Neudorf] is the spiritual home of the Winery Tour and last night was one of the best nights we've ever had," he said. "A beautiful summer night, a great crowd and great performances. We can't wait for tonight."
The bands appeared to enjoy themselves, too. "It's official. Nelson is amazing. Today was the beach, tomorrow is the beach again," tweeted Avalanche City after the show last night.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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