Music is great. Wine is great. So why not blend them together? That is exactly what this evening was: a perfect cocktail of summer, classic music, and delicious wine. Even the beating sun and 30 degree heat couldn’t stop concert goers piling into Church Road Winery, armed with deck chairs, plenty of snacks and (of course) sunblock.
The heat still beating down, Dragon took to the stage and slightly tipsy punters jumped up to the barrier ready to sing their hearts outs. Playing hit after hit, it felt as though we had been transported back to Cuba in the 1970s and the crowd were already getting hyped. Screams of the chorus, “don’t you go out in the rain, don’t go out in the pouring rain” could surely be heard by all surrounding residents in Hastings, and our chants were heard as barely a wisp of cloud could be seen throughout the day. Treating the crowd to a lengthy 1 hour opening set, these rockers show us all that they’re just as entertaining as they were back in their heyday, and time has done nothing to diminish their ability to perform.
The “new generation” Jefferson Starship held the band’s legacy with pride and passion, rocking the stage like they owned it. Long time fans held devil horns up at the barrier and the fields were filled with friendship groups shamelessly dancing as ‘Sara’ blasted across the winery. Playing a great mix of new, old and “old old” songs these rockers never missed a beat, and with every glass of wine that passed attendees’ lips, the energy increased, reflected in the band’s performance.
With a backstage change and addition of congas, the long awaited Toto took the stage, greeted by delighted screams from the crowd. It was clear that punters weren’t just waiting around for the band to bless the rains, jumping and singing along with the rock-jazz fusion beats throughout the entire set. The crowd was able to rest their voices, and grab another wine while the guitars riffs of Jake To The Bone travelled throughout the winery, but as the instrumental draw to a close, Steve Lukather addressed the swaying crowd, asking, “Do you want a party song? Yeah you want a party song!” signalling that it was time to get back on our feet.
A few bangers, and more wine later, the sun was setting and the band stopped mid-set, for a well deserved (and much needed) breather. Lukather introduced the band members one by one, with cheers gaining volume with each new name that was announced. Then, suddenly, a very familiar sounds echoed through the night. As though the crowd was one giant garden party, those that had until this point remained seated joined the others in rising to their feet and throwing their arms in the air. It was time. Time to bless the rains. The words filled the valley as friends and family turned to each other, happily screaming, “Hurry boy, it’s waiting there for you”.
If you ever have the chance to see any of these classic rockers live, do it. You won’t regret it. Long live the rains down in Africa.