The concert by Brendan Dugan and Dennis Marsh was not what I expected.
The picture I had in mind was a professional duo presentation from a stage with performance lighting in an indoor setting as Whitianga Hotel has lots of space for performance and spectators.
However, we were provided with virtually two concerts. Brendan gave his concert first and then Dennis presented his concert with Brendan supporting Dennis in acoustic arrangements and on occasion, harmony. Everything was located outdoors in the Garden Bar of Whitianga Hotel - good and plentiful seating, with shade and drinks and platters readily available.
Country Music is not my first choice and probably not even second, but I loved the concert(s). Both men are very professional and very experienced with proven talent. They have won a stream of awards for their popularity and for the success and quality of songs and recordings over forty years. The audience numbered about 90, a decent size gathering for 2.00pm in the afternoon. Evenings tend to do better.
The concert was of excellent standard, both men letting the music flow from them and focusing all the time on the people. Brendan, being on the guitar, was confined to the stage although he readily engaged people in singing the familiar and well-loved lyrics. The tenor and depth of his voice is soul-stirring. Dennis however roamed free around the tables with his roving microphone and involved the people, not just in singing along, but with stories and humour. People laughed, sang, reminisced, and felt young again. It was obvious to see. Some of the audiences were young in years and they loved the concert and knew the songs. That is the way of country music; you can sing along to it all your life and it’s generally about love won and love lost and travelling through life. People relate to the themes and the easy rhythms and become devoted country music followers. It is not quite the way of heavy metal or hip hop. This was an excellent afternoon’s entertainment with two famous New Zealand entertainers brought to Mercury Bay by the Whitianga Hotel.
Caption: From left: Amber Elliston, Leigh Anselmi, James Elliston (at back), Chloe
Elliston, Blair and Sam Anselmi enjoy the music of Dennis Marsh (at left).