They're as Aussie as it gets, but Cold Chisel frontman Jimmy Barnes says our Waitangi holiday is the perfect occasion for them to play in New Zealand.

The legendary rock outfit are reforming and will bring their Blood Moon 2020 tour to Tauranga's Wharepai Domain on February 5.

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Beloved Kiwi band The Mutton Birds' original line-up will provide the main support, along with critically acclaimed West Auckland group The Bads, and Gisborne teenage punk outfit Sit Down In Front.


"It's Waitangi eve, isn't it, which is a big day and celebration in New Zealand, and we thought it was the perfect day for us to head there," Barnes said at today's tour announcement at Sydney's Bondi Pavilion.

Cold Chisel in front of Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach. Photo / NZ Herald.
Cold Chisel in front of Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach. Photo / NZ Herald.

"I've just finished a solo tour there myself and everywhere I went people were asking 'when's Chisel coming' so I think it's going to be a big thing.

"We've made it in New Zealand since the late 70s and when we did the Sweetwaters festival and so we've had a great following there since then and we look forward to getting there any time we can."

After forming in Adelaide in 1973 and breaking up following their infamous Last Stand in 1983, Cold Chisel has reformed for just four national tours of Australia and played New Zealand gigs only in Auckland and Christchurch.

Now, for the first time in their colourful career, Barnes, together with fellow founding members Don Walker (piano/keys), Ian Moss (guitar), Phil Small (bass) and drummer Charley Drayton — who replaced the late Steve Prestwich — will play 14 outdoor shows.

Cold Chisel is led by iconic frontman Jimmy Barnes. Photo / Supplied
Cold Chisel is led by iconic frontman Jimmy Barnes. Photo / Supplied

Notorious for their wild ways back in the day, Moss was relieved to make it to the tour announcement after he misplaced his passport while on a connecting flight travelling from Los Angeles to Sydney.

The good staff at Qantas helped him out to ensure he wouldn't miss the press conference.

"It's the first time I've ever done that, honestly," he laughed. "It surprised the hell out of me too. I thought I'd completely blown this.


"I don't know what happened here but thank you, Qantas."

Fans can look forward to the band performing classics like Khe Sanh, Flame Trees, Bow River, My Baby, Cheap Wine, Saturday Night and You Got Nothing I Want, while the group is also putting the finishing touches to some new material.

The tour takes its name from a lunar eclipse where the sun, Earth and moon all briefly align before returning to their own orbits — a sighting almost as rare as a Cold Chisel concert.

"You might see a blood moon once in your life," explains Walker, the band's main songwriter.

"Apparently there's going to be one just before dawn when we're in Melbourne on this tour but we didn't actually know that when we chose the name. Maybe it's a sign."

The Mutton Birds last played together in 2012, and Cold Chisel are thrilled to have them on board as their special guests.

The Auckland band formed in 1991, fronted by singer and songwriter Don McGlashan, with guitarist David Long and drummer Ross Burge, joined by Alan Gregg.

They enjoyed huge popularity with two platinum records featuring Kiwi anthems such as Anchor Me, Dominion Road, Nature and The Heater, and McGlashan won the APRA Silver Scroll for his songwriting.

A stint in the UK followed in the mid-90s and the band developed a following throughout Europe before eventually disbanding in early 1999.

"I've never seen The Mutton Birds. And I'm looking forward to that very much. They're obviously an iconic New Zealand band," Walker explained.

"I got to spend an afternoon with Don a few years ago and I'm looking forward to catching up with him and seeing the band."

Barnes also raved about Sit Down In Front, who last month joined him across three shows in Christchurch, Dunedin and Auckland, during his Shutting Down Your Town tour.

"They are an awesome young band," he said. "These guys are 14, 15, 16. The singer has cerebral palsy and they're a punk band.

"They played a show and said 'we really like your songs and Cold Chisels songs' and I said 'you should try and do this show'.

"And so they've jumped on the tour so it's really great."

Rounding out the bill are The Bads, led by Brett Adams and Dianne Swann, with drummer and producer Wayne Bell, multi-instrumentalist and producer Dave Khan and bassist, producer, songwriter and guitarist Ben King joining them for their live shows.

Pre-sale tickets will be available at 2pm on Monday, with the general sale starting at 11am on October 21 via Ticketmaster.