Review: Dragon 40th Anniversary Tour

By Peter White

The coming together of three of the most important rock acts in Kiwi music history made for a special night at the excellent outdoor venue at the Brewer's Bar, even if the headline act's performance lacked the quality of the opening two.

Not that Dragon lacked crowd support or a catalogue of great songs - far from it. April Sun in Cuba, Young Years, Rain and Are You Old Enough deserve all the adulation they get.

But the fillers between the big hits struggled to make any impression and Mark Williams' pipes often struggled to reach the higher range original singer Mark Hunter made so memorable. But at least Williams was energetic and enthusiastic, unlike the only original Dragon member left, Todd Hunter, who is a pale shadow of his former self.

The mostly 40-plus crowd lapped it up and it was encouraging to see a good sprinkling of 20-somethings grooving away to their parents' favourite songs.

Hello Sailor once shared a notorious party house with Dragon in Ponsonby in the 1970s and unlike their old flatmates, the original band members have a new lease of life with the release of their first album for 17 years Surrey Crescent Moon.

The Sailor set was sharp and right on the money with the new material sounding superb.

The final two songs, Gutter Black and Blue Lady, were the high points of the evening.

Former Street Talk boss Hammond Gamble opened the gig with his own unique blend of blues and pop melodies. The Kiwi Eric Clapton brought the crowd out of the bar with the first chords from his Fender Strat and his 30 minute set was a treat.

Dragon 40th Anniversary Tour - With Hello Sailor and Hammond Gamble - Brewer's Bar - Saturday October 20.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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