The big non-story in Friday's edition of The Hawke's Bay Today newspaper was that Bruce Springsteen might play The Mission. The story, cobbled together in a desperate attempt to mean something, adorned the front page of the region's daily rag. It told of Bruce Springsteen being an option for next year's Mission Estate vineyard concert. It also mentioned Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. The last two names were mentioned simply because those acts have announced likely world tours in 2013. Ditto, Pauls McCartney and Simon were only mentioned in the context that their management had confirmed tours continuing through 2013.
McCartney, sounding more and more like a pensioner when he sings these days, has played The Professional Beatle for most of the past 25 years. Of course he's continuing to tour. That's what he does. And he should probably stop now - if the Olympic ceremony was anything to go by.
Paul McCartney has been some sort of "hot rumour" for The Mission for close to a decade now. Paul Simon is always mentioned too.
I'd like to see Paul Simon live - I think he's still got it, definitely. His mini-solo set as part of the Simon & Garfunkel reunion show in Auckland a couple of years ago showed him sounding (and seeming) like a different person. No longer was he trotting out stale oldies to stale oldies, he was alive and hip and excited by the sounds his band was making.
I'm a fan too. And I've not seen Paul Simon solo - so I'd like that.
But in a perfect world I would not want to watch him in a paddock with a bunch of people who go to one concert a year, but figure that entitles them to hear every song they've ever liked by anyone - regardless of who the performer is on the night.
One guy, many years ago, said that he always went to Hawke's Bay Mission show - and that he would go every year. They could, he said, "put a guy on stage with a f**king lawnmower and I'd still be there".
That glowing endorsement seems to sum up the spirit of the event. Let's party! Let's drink. Be merry. And hey, you, big famous rock-star: you better be good!
A guy like Bruce Springsteen - a legend of the live-arena circuit, something of a god when it comes to touring, to live performance - would be wasted on these chardonnay cavemen and women.
So would Paul McCartney - because he would be crucified for not sounding exactly like The Beatles.
One year Eric Clapton played an amazing show - and people booed. They booed because he didn't speak to them. Didn't say that he thought Hawke's Bay was a beautiful place. And because he didn't play Tears in Heaven.
I was there to see a great musician turn in a great set - one that, in the end, was better than I expected. And Clapton was the third-best guitarist on stage that night as it happened (with Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall in the band).
In the past couple of years there have been shows by Sting and Rod Stewart - big names that suit the cause. I didn't see Rod Stewart but I'm sure he delivered - because I saw his 2005 performance at that venue and he killed it, playing everything that he should, catering to as broad of an audience as he was able to do, within his set of recorded works.
And Sting? Well, that was a trickier show - it was him and an orchestra, performing his Symphonicities show. And I expected to dislike this - since the album was ghastly. But it was really amazing - quite something. But what do you know, Hawke's Bay's Collective Cultural Attaché decided that Sting sounded rubbish. Plus, they had to line up and pay for their own booze. The golf trundlers that were used to tow chilly bins down the long road to the event were wasted that year (rather than the people towing them, which is - usually - the goal). So that was a huge disappointment.
I've said before that I think Tom Petty would be a great choice for this event. But that seems a cruel thing to wish on Tom Petty. Because, to really knock it out of the park he would need to not only deliver one of his typically great live sets. He would also need to compliment the region on its brand new escalator! (And mean it!) And he would need to play every song that everyone expected - not just a great, diverse set of Tom Petty classics. If the crowd wants Sweet Caroline and 500 Miles they should have it!
So, as the paper trots out its lazy journalism, just a list of big names again to try to excite people, I thought I'd trot out some of my thought on the Mission again. Here's what needs to happen for 2013's Mission Estate concert:
A karaoke machine with a giant bouncing ball on a big screen. That is it. That will please everyone. Program it to say "we love you Hawke's Bay, you are so wise and so smart, you have great wine and awesome people. You are so clever for your size. And how 'bout that weather eh!"
And of course whatever version that currently exists of The Little River Band could be the opening act for this giant karaoke machine.
What do you think? Would you load up the golf-trundler for that? Would you take an extra spent-glowstick out from the freezer and a set of LED-flashing novelty glasses? Would you tie a homespun round your moleskins and head along for the biggest party of the year?
Are you a fan of the Mission concerts? And do you go every year regardless? Or does taking in a concert mean more to you than standing near - or in - someone's spew?
And who do you want to see - or completely and utterly avoid - at next year's Mission Estate concert?
Would you go if Bruce or one of the Pauls or Fleetwood Mac or The Eagles did - by some gin-soaked miracle - make it to the stage in Napier?
What would get you to the Mission? Or is it as simple as the guy with the giant f**king lawnmower hitting the right notes as he figure-eights round the stage throwing wine samples and free sunblock into the crowd? Wa-hey!
Post a comment