It would be fair to say New Zealand music legend Dave Dobbyn – should that be Sir Dave – is absolutely in love with Hawke's Bay.
Back again almost where it began, fronting Th' Dudes for what should justly be a capacity crowd of about 1000 in the Napier Municipal Theatre on Monday night, he's lost count of the number of times he's been on stage in the Bay since he first happened our way more than 40 years ago.
He's almost lost count of the different venues, with 2020 giving one look at the busy life of the 63-year-old 21st century troubadour, who's been part of the New Zealand music and entertainment scene since he was 18.
Already he's played as Dave Dobbyn and his band at Central Hawke's Bay Municipal Theatre in Waipawa on October 2, during what was billed as the "Open Up" tour – in tribute to the relaxation of the Covid restrictions, or more to the point, a sign the entertainment industry was open for business again.
But, wait, there's more, for Dobbyn will be back next month, with The Beths for an outdoors gig at Black Barn Winery and Vineyard, near Havelock North.
It was the second time he'd been at the hall in Waipawa, and he's been to Black Barn, and the Napier Muni before, but added to those are such venues as prime NZ muso-destination The Cabana, the Marine Parade Soundshell, and the Mayfair Hotel in Hastings.
There's also been appearances at Church Road Winery in Taradale, and not too far away at Napier's Christmas in the Park – Anderson Park.
Each has their memories – The Cabana, for the endless list of legends, the Soundshell for a beautiful night spoilt by some sort of disturbance on the nearby beach – "gangs" and a "gun" were mentioned - and the Mayfair, the Hastings bar where some of the crowd reckoned they were the entertainment as well, but where the bar was burned down in 1993 having served 20 years or so of the explosion of rock bands in pubs across the country with the introduction of later closing hours.
Just as in Waipawa he was a must-do for the Kiwi music aficionados – as shown by the selling-out of a 350-seat venue in minutes – so too is Monday's, given the impact of Th'Dudes on New Zealand music, despite being a comparatively short part of it.
They – being originals Dobbyn, the late Ian Morris, Peter Urlich, Peter Coleman, and Bruce Hambling – were, with addition Lez White, were an item essentially for just five years, from 1975 to 1980, which produced a string of memorable numbers as 1979 Single of the Year Be Mine Tonight, Right First Time, Walking in Light, and, of course, Bliss, each remaining a hit above the station achieved at the time.
They reformed in 2006 for what became a 17-show tour, and disbanded again late in late-2008.
Now they're back on what is a tribute to Bliss – Th' Bliss Tour – perhaps a play on words for while Th' Dudes mainly packed it in, the bubble never burst, and is showing signs that maybe it never will.
In between times there's been DD Smash, with the ever-memorable Devil You Know and Whaling, the 1985 Footrot Flats movie score including Slice of Heaven, onwards to Loyal (1988, would yer believe?), Welcome Home (2000), and ….
In the meantime, sadly was the death of Morris in Napier in 2010, but brother Rikki Morris is in the lineup on this tour.
Dobbyn has also had a crack at karaoke, revealing that he never thought he would, or could. It happened when he and his wife walked into a bar in Waihi, and he did it. He confesses now: "I love it."
It's actually almost 18 years since David Joseph Dobbyn was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, revealed when he received a letter in 2003 from Prime Minister Helen Clark and wondered: "What does Helen want?"
Not a bad name for a song, I suggest. He laughs. Not a bad sort of bloke to be named "Sir," I suggest. He laughs.