Thousands rock back to the 1970s, 80s

21:00, Feb 24 2013
Pat Benatar and band
STAR HEARTBREAKER: Pat Benatar and band headline the summer concert at Gibbston on Saturday.

Rock fans hit Gibbston en masse on Saturday to catch living legends on tour in New Zealand.

A 15,000-strong crowd basked in the sun at Gibbston to watch America, Bachman & Turner and Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo in concert.

Giraldo, Benatar's husband, songwriting partner and guitarist, was obviously thrilled by the receptive crowd while his wife was taken aback by the surroundings and Kiwi hospitality.

She paused to tell the crowd she could not believe it had taken 35 years to play gigs in New Zealand.

Gibbston was the last date in a three-slot tour after concerts in Taupo and Auckland.

"We have had the best time, this is the most beautiful country with the most lovely people, fabulous wine, what could be better?" Benatar said.


They belted out favourites such as Heartbreaker, We Belong and Love is a Battlefield.

It was also the first New Zealand tour by Bachman & Turner and something of a coup for promoters Greenstone Entertainment, helming their third summer concert at Gibbston after playing host to the Doobie Brothers, Little River Band and Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

Earlier, Randy Bachman blasted out his first major hit with band The Guess Who, American Woman, a classic blues-rock song that shot to No 1 in the 1970s.

With Fred Turner as part of Bachman Turner Overdrive, the band sold more than 30 million records and notched up hits in more than 20 countries.

Classic tracks You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet and Taking Care of Business had most of the crowd on their feet at the Gibbston Valley winery venue.

America, a band formed 42 years ago, had their first hit with A Horse with No Name in the early 1970s. Four decades on, the song still proved immensely popular with the rock fraternity.

The Southland Times