Thousands turn out for rocking good time

19:54, Feb 16 2014
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd performing at the Gibbston gig.
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarists Mark "Sparky" Matejka, left, and Rickey Medlocke.
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd in action, from left: Johnny van Zant, Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington.
Jody Direen
Wanaka-based country singer Jody Direen.
Starship
The 14,000-strong crowd at Gibbston rocking out to Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.
Starship
Starship featuring Mickey Thomas at the Gibbston Summer Concert.
Bahip
Bahip, from left: Samuel Kelly, Will Gloag (drums), Theo Baumfield and Yuta Honda.
10CC
Guitarist Rick Fenn, centre, and 10cc in action.
10CC
10cc in a quartet at Gibbston.

Gibbston flashed back to the 70s on Saturday as thousands of fans turned out to listen to rock veterans Lynyrd Skynyrd, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, and 10cc.

About 14,000 people attended the concert, making the most of the balmy weather.

Queenstown band Bahip and Wanaka country singer Jody Direen warmed up the crowd before 10cc took to the stage to perform favourites such as Dreadlock Holiday and The Things We Do For Love.

gibbston valley
GOOD TURNOUT: The large crowd at the Gibbston Valley Winery concert featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd, Starship and 10cc.

Starship featuring Mickey Thomas kept the crowd pumping and got most of those attending up dancing before Lynyrd Skynyrd took to the stage.

The southern rock legends put on a polished performance and showed they were not slowing up any time soon.

Singing their hits Sweet Home Alabama and That Smell, they had the crowd swaying in time before finishing the day off with the classic Free Bird.

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The band, which originally formed in 1964, shot to worldwide fame in the 70s but, tragically, three members were killed in a plane crash in 1977.

The surviving members re-formed in 1987 and the current lineup consists of core members vocalist Johnny Van Zant - the younger brother of lead singer and founder Ronnie Van Zant, who died in the crash - co-founders Gary Rossington and Rickey Medlocke as well as Johnny Colt, Mark "Sparky" Matejka, Michael Cartellone and Peter Keys.

It was the last of a three-gig New Zealand tour and Skynyrd and Starship's inaugural performances for Kiwi crowds.

Greenstone Entertainment has run four big concerts in Queenstown and the success of the latest gig follows last year's headline acts Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Bachman and Turner, and America.

Greenstone chief executive Amanda Calvert said yesterday that Saturday was a huge day for everyone.

Feedback from the artists' camps ranked the New Zealand tour in their top three.

The bands, who flew out of New Zealand yesterday, loved the tour, she said.

"This year it was a little over 14,000 and the venue does still have a lot of room to move. The venue is perfect; we have it tuned down perfectly.

"Lynyrd Skynyrd, they were absolutely amazing, but 10cc and Starship held their own."

An overcast day was welcomed by the crowd and the artists after a rain-soaked gig in Taupo and a hot and humid Matakana.

"The weather in Queenstown was perfect, the bands and crowd were fantastic and we are really happy with the outcome."

The three main bands were joined on stage by country singer Jody Direen, of Wanaka, and Queenstown band Bahip.

The Gibbston Summer Concert will be back next year. 

The Southland Times