Nederlands Dans Theater at The Civic Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand, 29 July 2016
Safe as Houses (Choreography by Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot)
Safe as Houses
Darkness and light
Shadow and illumination
Incogitable strength cranes limbs
A life in the hinge of an ankle
The vanishing ballet.
Woke up Blind (Choreography by Marco Goecke, Music by Jeff Buckley)
Woke up Blind
An entire dance to one haunting, lingering Jeff Buckley note
“Burning holes with eyes of liquid brown”
Pulling and pushing
Hissing angry copulating frenzied love
Trapped inside the mind
Breakdown in communication
Together again. Alone.
The Statement (Choreography by Crystal Pite)
He’s here from upstairs.
Dancers slide and drip over the
The ability to proliferate conflict
light years away, from the
safety of the boardroom table.
Traitorous switched roles
Rapture and torment
Upstairs, and beneath a table.
A decision made?
“The best things always happen at the arse end of the night,” someone said. It may have been me. Whoever’s champagne-fuelled comment that was, it proved to be true as Stephen – incredible Stephen – lifted his violin out of its case, as if a baby from a cradle, and said those magic words: “What would you like to hear?”
Something special happens in that wrinkle-in-time place between where the party officially ends and the story continues, an ‘afterward’ of sorts. And that was where we, the remaining handful of guests at The Best Party of the Year, found ourselves on Friday night, huddled around the fire, listening to Stephen Hussey, violinist and arranger of London’s Urban Soul Orchestra play, unplugged. To orientate this on the fabulous and special scale, USO has worked with Mick Jagger, Robin Thicke, Maxi Priest, Leona Lewis, Madonna, Kylie, Grace Jones, Oasis and The Script amongst others. Continue reading
Jamie Lawson in Auckland, 29 August 2015 at The Tuning Fork. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2015.
The young boy standing next to me hung close to his Dad, every few minutes pulling his phone out from his jeans pocket and checking the camera was ready.
‘How old are you?’ I asked him.
‘Lucky you,’ I said. ‘Have you been to many concerts?’
‘This is my first,’ said Isaac (as I learned was his name).
We chat about first concerts. Mine was Queen at Mt Smart Stadium in 1985 (I’d just turned nine). Jeremy’s was the Eurythmics. Isaac’s dad’s was a punk band in a dive bar in London at aged 13. And now Isaac’s is Jamie Lawson at the Tuning Fork in Auckland.
And the story gets even cuter from there. Isaac’s Dad slipped a note to the sound guy with the beard and the AAA pass slung around his neck. Isaac’s Dad won’t tell us what the note said. I wonder if anything will come of it.
“Do they sell drinks here? They do? Have a drink. Relax. I’ll take care of the rest of this shit up here.”
If there was a movie of my life, I’d ask the Counting Crows to write the soundtrack. I know every lyric, and most of the chords. They’ve joined me sitting on front steps the world over. Goodnight Elizabeth, Round Here and Long December got me – and a bunch of other homesick, lovesick Kiwis – through London late 90s nights and on to good lives. I played Hard Candy so much my car CD player broke. When This Desert Life turned up in a drawer in Spain, it felt like a sign. Now my kids know the words too.
Image copyright: Caroline Barron, 2015
“I’m perfectly up for losing my voice tonight, Auckland! Are you with me?”
Image copyright Caroline Barron, 2015
I first saw Ed Sheeran three years ago on telly, singing A-Team at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert, a self-conscious 21-year-old with that unruly red hair. This is his fifth time in New Zealand since 2012, and the man on stage tonight – this unlikely hero – looks just like that guy from three year ago, but superhero powers gleaned from the brimming hearts of his millions of fans; twelve thousand of which sing every single word tonight. At times it is eerie, voices echoing from in front, behind – all sides – as if in a dimly lit cave, the intimacy belying the enormity of the venue. We could have been next door at the Tuning Fork.
The music thumped through me as if Freddie, Bryan, Roger and John were playing on a tiny stage deep inside my chest, rather than on the huge stage 100 meters ahead of our spot on the grass bank. Dad’s hand – dry and warm like pages left out in the sun – squeezed mine; he tapped his chest and laughed. His smile may have out-watted even mine. We were here. Together.
The album that started it all. Bohemian Rhapsody on rotate.
The band launched into the baseline of “Under Pressure” and the crowd went mad, hands in the air, screaming: Pressure! Pressure down on me! Pressure down on you! I leapt to my feet – I couldn’t help it! – then sat down again, embarrassed. I was nine. I’d never been to a concert before. Dad laughed his head off.
“C’mon you,” he said, and dragged me back up.
Something a little different today – a photo essay from the end of year concert by Sistema Aotearoa students. Since 2011 Dr. Joe Harrop and his committed team have been changing the lives of underprivileged Otara school children by teaching them to play an instrument. Music has enriched these children’s lives and resulted in positive social, educational and developmental outcomes. Not only that, it was pure pleasure to watch and a fantastic afternoon. Inspired! Thanks to Andrea Duncan from the Michael Hill International Violin Competition for inviting me.
Dr. Joe Harrop conducting
Oh what a night. Moi at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night to see the Rolling Stones
“We’ve been coming here a long time, New Zealand. So long that the first time we came, we were touring with Roy Orbison!” Jagger told me and 47,000 other fans. Damn right. And you know what? My mum was there. She remembers screaming her 15-year-old lungs out over Mick and Keith (Roy who?) in all the Stones’ velvet, fur and tight-panted glory at the Theatre Royal in Christchurch in 1965. Forty-one years later I first saw them on their A Bigger Bang tour at Western Springs in Auckland; and for a second, and even better, time at iconic Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
Mariah Carey, 14 November 2014, Vector Arena, Auckland.
Copyright Caroline Barron 2014
“Lucky you, you’re up late and at Mariah Carey!” I say to the little girl drying her hands in the Vector Arena bathrooms. “How old are you?”
“I’m seven and my name’s Mariah too.”
“Wow, can you sing as well as the other Mariah?”
Her mum: “She can sing, she’s great.”
17th October, 2014 @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ
“I can’t give you one favorite book. How ‘bout five?” I say, squeezing my beer bottle for inspiration.
“Nope. Cheating. You gotta give me one.” Willy Vlautin – award winning author and alt-country superstar – rocks back and forth on his toes and smiles a smile that stretches like telephone lines from his eyes to his chin. My carriages are momentarily uncoupled.
“Here’s a song I wrote for my horse, Rudy.” Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron