Review: Classic Hits Winery Tour

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 11:35 23/02/2014

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Classic Hits Winery Tour featuring The Exponents, Stan Walker and Breaks Co-Op at Waipara Hills. Reviewed by Vicki Anderson.

Sun, sauvignon and song - what could be sweeter?

Fresh from the beach, sand still between our toes, we arrived at Waipara Hills, formerly the Mud House, and I heard the sounds of Breaks Co-Op through a grapevine.

Andy Lovegrove's vocals were sublime, even when he was being harassed by a bee. Joined for these shows by Paul McLaney, and Christchurch musicians Richie Pickard and Mark Vanilau, Breaks Co-Op's latest tracks from their first album in 8 years, Sounds Familiar, came to life, adding new dimensions and depth. Well received by the crowd, a roar of approval accompanied the opening bars of their massive hit The Otherside.

Stan Walker and his crew of back-up dancers also had the crowd on their feet and dancing, offering up well known hits like Black Box and Bulletproof, newer songs from Inventing Myself, alongside a cover of Don't Dream It's Over in te reo.

He also spoke from the heart about bullying and poignantly dedicated his song Bully  to "a friend in her 40s who had taken her own life", presumably in reference to the tragic death of Charlotte Dawson.

Marking the third anniversary of the 2011 earthquake, Jordan Luck, frontman of The Exponents, extolled Cantabrians to raise a glass to themselves before leading a minute's silence in honour of "those souls who were lost".

Then it was a fun nostalgic stroll through the back catalogue of one of New Zealand's greatest songwriters.  Often taken for granted, The Exponents songs are full of our stories and landscapes and hearing songs like Christchurch (In Cashel St I Wait), Lulu, Like She Said, Sink Like A Stone and more in a beautiful outdoor venue, as opposed to a pub, emphasized this.

Luck dedicated songs to folks who had come from Reefton, mates from Geraldine and also did an impressive cover of The Angels' No Secrets in reference to a member of the Australian group who is unwell.

As we bundled sleepy children, tired from dancing, into the car, The Exponents were playing Victoria, a song that has long been a personal touchstone. The night was warm and still and just for a moment it seemed like the stars shone brighter.

While the trio of acts may have seemed an unlikely match on paper, under the warmth of the Canterbury sun, the plains stretching out in every direction around us, they complimented each other well and offered thousands of Cantabrians a fantastic, diverse evening's entertainment.

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- The Press

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