Tour Diary - Mel Parsons On The Road With Anika Moa
Tour Diary Dec 8th 2010
Lyttleton - Wellington
It's been a long road but we are finally there!
Twenty shows, countless boob signings, many many bottles of wine, and umpteen-thousand kilometres between Kerikeri and Invercargill in our trusty Mazda.
Lyttleton put on a cracker of a night for us, with yet another lovely crowd, shoulder to shoulder on a hot Canterbury night. Surviving the earthquake (just) the Harbourlight Theatre is a treasure of a venue and we were lucky that they were able to open up in time for the show. Thanks Christchurch.
Our final show was in Wellington on Saturday night, with a last minute venue change to Bodega after the sudden and unfortunate demise of the Ruby Lounge. Fittingly we were sent off with 6 screaming fire engines... Immediately after Anika finished her encore (complete with standing ovation) we were hustled out of the building, thanks to one of the overzealous underage ravers upstairs, who hit the fire alarm switch for 'fun'. Talk about being careful what you wish for - Anika had sung " Running Through the Fire" a little earlier in the evening.
Anika Moa, it would be fair to say, is the Queen of NZ touring artists. Her fans prove that at every stop along the way - turning out in great numbers everywhere she goes (even petrol stations). Along with her soaringly beautiful voice and unrivaled karaoke skills, she has an uncanny ability to have everyaudience in hysterics from the minute she arrives on stage to the very last moment of however many encores they demand. What a treat.
'Til next mission,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tour Diary Dec 1st 2010
Dunedin - Invercargill - Gibbston Valley
Upon arrival in arrival at Chick's Hotel in Port Chalmers, we were led upstairs to be shown our lodgings. Along the way we were given a quick and somewhat creepy tour of the accommodation, which included stopping by the 'murder room', the bathtub where somebody drowned, and then to our beds with a friendly - "don't worry, but it's definitely haunted". Anika and I made sure the other was always accounted for that night, just in case.
The crowd were eager, and packed to the rafters. On stage entertainment at this show included a kitten that arrived on stage and started swinging off my guitar lead, before moving on to the mic stand... Our brilliant sound-man come photographer (and birds, planes and insect expert) Chris Gee nearly had to intervene, as the kitty began gnawing away at cables on stage. Let's just say it was lucky it was so cute.
Invercargill's show was in Uncle's Disco Bar, above the cavernous Uncle's Pool Bar and next to another one of Uncle's bars where last nights beer/floor reside makes a squelchy noise, and the extreme stickiness occasionally steals a jandal right off your foot... Ewww.
Behind the stage was a giant LED light wall. With my name up in lights (literally), I felt very rock and roll, and that maybe I should have been The Feelers or some great rock band. During soundcheck I joked with the lighting tech that wouldn't it be great to have images of dolphins swimming up on the screen. Mental note to be less subtle when joking around. Anika had the cool factor as always and had flames underneath her name.
The next day we wound our way up past Queenstown to the stunning Gibbston Valley. Pinots abound as we arrived at The Winehouse, complete with natural waterfall opposite and bungy jumping adjacent... we knew we were in for a great night. Recommendations if you are heading that way in the future would be the salmon and blue cheese pies and of course, the pinot.
Our wonderful host Tricky (who made sure we were suitably hung over during our days off) took us for a lazy day fishing on the Clutha, which was great fun and strangely addictive. After a hot morning of slaving away with our fishing rod, we returning to our BBQ without a single fish, thankful to the pessimist who had brought sausages.
Next stop back up to Christchurch followed by a mad dash to the grand finale in Wellington.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tour Diary Nov 24th 2010
Nelson - Westport - Hokitika
After a great night at the Nelson School of Music auditorium, we arrived in my hometown of Westport to the surreal news of the Pike River disaster that was unfolding just down the road...
We carried on as normal as possible, and feeling just as hopeless as everyone else, played our shows hoping that at least we might be able to bring some comfort in the form of music. Anika dedicated the Hokitika show to the miners and their families, who at that stage along with the rest of us were still hoping for a miracle.
Frivolous tour stories don't seem to fit this week :(
Today we are heading South again, Thursday's show is at the Chick's Hotel in Dunedin, Friday night we play Invercargill and then winery time again - Saturday night in Gibbston Valley near Queenstown.
Our thoughts are with the Coast...and all those families and friends.
'Til next week
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tour Diary Nov 17th 2010
Whakatane - Gisborne - Havelock North
This leg began well. Whakatane served us up some good old kiwiana, playing at the Charter Club - an RSA-type setup with cheap beer, polo shirts and that old red patterned carpet that smells like 1,000 messy nights gone by. The crowd were lovely and the venue had a beautiful outlook over Riviera Whakatane... Our Bay of Plenty experience was rounded out with a roast at Cobb and Co. where conversation ended abruptly following the discovery of puzzles and colouring-in on our table-mats. Kiwi kids the lot of us.
The following night in Gisborne we played the Dome Room in the historic (built in 1874) and rather magnificent Poverty Bay Club. I have just found my new favourite venue. Early next morning, thinking it was summer (well, it feels like it?) I popped across the road to the beach for what turned out to be an icicle-forming-on-eyelashes swim... Sneaky Gisborne tricking me with it's hot sun. Next stop, back into 'ANIKA'S' Mazda and down to somewhere we certainly liked the sound of: wine country.
Our hosts at Blackbarn Vineyard in Havelock North, wooed us with delicious wine and stunning surroundings, which along with the appearance of celebrity music blogger Simon Sweetman promised a lovely night... What we hadn't counted on was the irritating handful who actually thought that they were the Anika Moa show. Amidst loud radio voices which resonated through the underground cellar, someone signed off for the night by throwing a giant dildo onto the stage along with a pair of panties emblazoned with hand drawn love hearts and the words "We Love U Anicka". Delightful and disgusting all at once.
On the bright side there was a pint-sized fan who quietly danced around in circles in front of the stage, and while I was singing I got a friendly wave from her on the way past....every lap. Definitely most committed fan of the tour so far. She stepped it up for Anika's set, taking the stage to present an endearing version of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' - which looking back makes it hard to believe it was during the same show as the above mentioned incidents?!!
Onwards and upwards however - this week we heard across the Strait for theatre shows (phew!) in Nelson, Westport and Hokitika. I am looking forward to whitebait at my Dad's pub.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tour Diary Nov 10th 2010
The past few days have been a riot. You never expect to be threatening to punch people in the face at a solo acoustic (read: audiences sit quietly and listen) show...
Not that I did that. I did however, warn the over-zealous New Plymouth crowd politely that Anika would likely tell them to shut up as soon as she got on stage. Unfortunately they were such an excitable bunch that it took more than a few swear words and almost an intervention from our dear tour manager Chip Matthews to keep things under control. A note to fans: artists really love it when you shout all the way through a show, storm the backstage area, drink the rider and then expect to get your photo with someone famous. At least the drive down was lovely, thanks Taranaki.
All three shows sold out however, and that along with the lovely sunny weather kept us in fine spirits. It was the first time either of us had played in Te Awamutu - in fact I sheepishly had to admit to never having been there at all... The venue had changed owners less than a week before the show due to a raid of some kind. Rumors of a P-lab were flying. We were slightly apprehensive but thought it best to nod and smile and carry on as normal. The show went off without a hitch, and so, with a lovely crowd and the obligatory stop in to see the Finn exhibition, we gave Te Awamutu two thumbs up.
Next stop in our high visibility Mazda was Raglan. It was a cracker of a night, and the Yot Club crowd were treated to Anika's uncanny ability at taking-off other artists. On any given night above hysterical laughter, you might be lucky enough to hear Hollie Smith doing vocal gymnastics, Peter Garrett (or Helen Clark?!) singing "Youthful", or a throaty verse from Gin Wigmore.
This week we head South again for shows in Whakatane, Gisbourne and Hastings - and hopefully no punch-ups.
Till next week,
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tour Diary Nov 4th 2010
We are about to head off for Te Awamutu, in a brand-new, beautifully sign-written Mazda, complete with butterflies and Anika's face on the side.... Stops at petrol stations have become a true joy. Call of the day en route to our show in Whangarei last week was a lovely fan who came up to the window to greet "Anita Moa" and then proceed to tell her that although it was a real honour, she would really rather meet Ritchie Sambora. This is a true story and just one of the little treats that keep us going on the road.
Every now and then fans get so overwhelmed at the thought of a chance meeting, that they get mixed up with which one of us is actually Anika. The fact that I am white, about a half-foot taller and look nothing like her gives the game away for most people... Still. High entertainment value.
We are up to show number 7 of 21 through-out NZ, with a very efficient tour party and the ever-entertaining Miss Moa. The shows are selling out, people are buying our albums (which we like, and are happy to sign for), there is a lot of laughing every night, and magic moments abound - including a guest appearance from the one and only Jordan Luck, who strolled on stage at Bethell's Beach halfway through Anika's cover of one of his own songs to chime in on the bits he could remember. Bless.
Right-o, must fly, the next few days we will take in the scenic Waikato and Taranaki, with shows in Te Awamutu, New Plymouth and Raglan.