I’ve been to a few concerts at Hawke’s Bay’s Mission vineyard – most often as a reviewer, sometimes as simply a fan. They’re a difficult organisation – the promoter is hard work and is not happy with me. Fair enough, I’ve more than once referred to his big event as some sort of embarrassing piss-up. Some Hawke’s Bay punter once said of the Mission concert, “I go every year. Doesn’t matter who is playing – they could guy on stage with a fucking lawnmower and I’d still go”. And that really does seem to sum up the overall vibe.
The year of the Sting concert (2011) they had put in place the alcohol ban – meaning you could no longer wheel in your golf trundler full of BYO booze (don’t laugh – that’s what people do). So there were huge queues for people to buy wine at the venue – no real control of alcohol there, just the venue clipping the ticket an extra time.
And there was a lengthy intermission – all in the aim of selling more booze of course.
But anyway, I was lucky just to be there this time. The promoter had denied me entry – told me there was no way I was welcome. He told me they simply did not “require” a review – and hey, that’s fair enough. So I pointed out that this was kinda interesting given they did seem to need an announcement in the paper to create buzz and help sell tickets, and advertising to further push the show – and in return the paper might like to review the show. It might even have some readers interested in knowing what the show was like.
The return email was really strange – I was offered a ticket so long as I agreed not to review the show, some sort of thanks to the newspaper for making the gig announcement and running ads and stuff.
I turned up – got the best seat I’ve ever had at the Mission, the only time I’ve had one of the expensive (sit-down) reserved seats. A great view, great sound – and no matter what you think of Sting (I think he’s a bit of a twat, but some great music – and a great band is always in tow) it really was a pretty wonderful show. Of course I got to say all of that, or pretty much, because I simply wrote a review after anyway, just didn’t put my name on it.
Stubs is an occasional feature here at Off The Tracks – looking back through the ticket-stub box and remembering how the show went down.