Crowds might have partied hard at the other Mission Concerts, but not since the earthquake nearly 70 years ago has Napier rocked the way it did to the Doobie Brothers on Saturday night. The performance was hot and grunty, and thankfully, for a band that was thumping out hits first played before many of the 20,000 concert-goers were born, the Doobies, unlike the Beach Boys last year, were not a pale imitation of the band some of us grew up with.
From the time they kick-started the concert, using the throaty rumble of a Harley Davidson
growling through the speakers to let Napier know that they had arrived, the Mission knew it had
a real rock concert on it's hands.
Some of the elderly people, who have been to every Mission concert since opera diva Dame
Kiri Te Kanawa got the annual event going seven years ago, were clearly not prepared for this one!
They loved Boney M and their class act in priming the sea of people picknicking on the slopes
overlooking the Mission Estate vineyards, but their apprehension at what was to come was apparent
from the first Harley rev.
From then on it was just too much for some seated in the posh seats...they took themselves up
the amphitheatre to escape from the powerful sound system pumping out Doobie's classics like
'Jesus is Just Alright', 'China Grove' and 'Listen to the Music'
But old groovers, like your correspondant and his friends, compared seeing the Doobies live
to being back in the 60's, with the added
bonus of remembering it this time!
'This town hasn't grooved like this since the old days at the Cabana Hotel'
was one comment overheard.
As for the band that made it all happen, the Doobies clearly enjoyed the joie de vivreof a
crowd that had waited for up to six hours under a blistering sun to see their show. Just like the
Beach Boys response last year, Doobies member Tom Johnston told the crowd that they really knew
how to party and , though they were not in New Zealand long, the band wanted to come back for a holiday.
For the promotors, who took a punt by bringing a big rock group to what had become a traditional
Mission recipe of middle-of-the-road entertainers, the night was an fantastic success. The enchanting
Mission mood was there from the moment the feel-good crowd spread the picnic blankets and tucked
into their hampers and wine.
For all you Boney M fans out there: 'Amazing Grace', 'Sunny', 'Painter Man', 'Rivers of
Babylon' and 'Brown Girl in the Ring' have never sounded so good.