Well that’s a wrap. My Southern Hemisphere tour of 37 gigs, god knows how many miles and countless good times is over. I’ve loved it, I really have and I heartily thank the people from Australia and New Zealand who came to gigs, organised gigs, put me up, fed me, gave me good company and bought CDs. I nearly sold out, not quite but nearly! It was a massive undertaking for me to do such a long tour so far from home and I made no secret I was rather nervous but it was totally worth it.
First let me bring you up to speed. Havelock was an absolute belter of a gig at the Captain’s Daughter with a quite brilliant audience, wonderful atmosphere and a rather clumsy introduction from me – ‘it’s great to be back in the Captain’s Daughter’. I hadn’t quite realised how that would sound…Anyway next it was off to Nelson for a gig at the stunning Fairfield House, a replacement for the sadly stricken Boathouse. It was a wonderful night again and a real candidate for gig of the tour in fact. Next came a bloody long drive to Oamaru for a gig at the amazing Grainstore Gallery which was once again a lovely gig (and a visit to the rather splendid whisky shop was also much enjoyed). Then a short drive to Dunedin to play an excellent gig at a packed Dunedin Folk Club and banjos and whisky with my host, the inimitable Don Milne.
Then it was off to Arrowtown for a lively gig at the Fork and Tap with superb support from B-Free who was also inifinitely better than me at selling CDs. I was far too English but he was just straight in there. I’ll learn…Anyway then came frankly one of the most terrifying drives of my life. I had a few days to work my way back up New Zealand so I thought as the gig finished at 7 I’d head a few hours north after the show. Not a bad idea but I was unfortunate to encounter torrential rain (and I mean torrential – when it rains here it rains!!!!) and strong winds. It was a little disconcerting driving a road strewn with fallen trees while surrounded by…trees. Thankfully I made it and enjoyed my few days off as I drove through the beautiful country. What a place!
The gigs restarted in Matamata at the Little Theatre to a small but perfectly formed audience. Then to Katikati for a truly outstanding gig at the folk club to a packed house. Finally came Hamilton at a jolly little house concert and the legendary Bunker in Devonport, Auckland which was once again proof that it is every bit deserving of its legendary status. I’ve waxed lyrical about New Zealand and its people many times I know but it really has been such a special place for me. Can’t wait to go back!
Forgive the absence of a rant this week. I will get back on this when I’m back and de-jetlagged! Much love to you all and do check out UFQ spring tour dates and the very exciting first tour of the Dan Walsh trio!!