I’ve been to The Civic before but never for a concert, Thursday night changed that. As I arrived there was a queue of people going up Wellesley St and also along Queen St, with the opening act due on in about half an hour. I joined the line and found it moved really quickly. Tonight was the first night of Matt Corby’s Rainbow Valley Tour in NZ.
First to take the stage was Australian songstress Mane. The Adelaide native took the stage with two band members (Ben on guitar and Max on drums). I had never heard her before tonight and as she kicked into the first track I realised this was going to be something I really enjoyed. She has an ethereal and deep voice which seems to touch multiple emotions and thoughts as you listen. Draped in all black, with her long thick hair covering half her face and dangling pink earrings peaking through, she moved sporadically as she performed. But I have to say it all fit well to the music. She performed with a guitar, had a mix of slow & upbeat songs and also let out little screams which added a punch to some of the songs. Mane told the crowd she “was last in Auckland in 2014/15” and “played to a pub with about 3 people so this is an upgrade”.
I honestly wish I knew about this because I would have discovered her music earlier. Before she departed the stage she made sure to thank Matt as well. I look forward to hearing more of her music.
Finally, Matt Corby took the stage. However, it was his 7-piece band that took the stage first. They were positioned in a half-circle around the stage with Matt in the centre. Though the band had 2 backup singers, 3 other band members provided additional harmonies. Colourful nature-inspired visuals covered the backdrop but rather than being natural colours it was bold and vibrant colours such as orange and purple. I also have to add the sound was probably a bit too loud for such an intimate room, my friend and I even resorted to using earplugs (always use them if needed. You’ll thank me later).
Matt would rotate from the keys to the drums and even played the flute towards the end of his set. He would also get up a few times during his set to pace the stage in bare feet rather than sit amongst his instrument set-up the whole night. I found it interesting to notice that he doesn’t look at the crowd unless there’s a gap in the set and he’s addressing the crowd “You guys doing okay? You guys are so nice”. But he was obviously just focused, feeling the music and I understand that.
The show was very much about the music for him and you could see that. But there’s no doubt Matt was clearly enjoying himself as he was smiling quite a bit throughout the set either to himself or his band members. The crowd was quite vocal and you could definitely tell they really loved the “singles” and older tracks. However some of the crowd was a bit too vocal, consistently screaming and shouting out. It ruined the show a bit because it just wasn’t nice having a beautiful ballad or slow moment, broken by someone shouting out “I love you” etc. But he pushed on through it and didn’t really let it phase him, even acknowledging one of them “I love you too”. “You guys have been such a delicious crowd”.
That part of the set finally came – the fake encore. I’m not really a fan of artists doing that. Some can do it well and some it just seems unnecessary. But the crowd seemed okay with it. “In all seriousness, it’s been lovely playing for you all”. Matt took the stage and asked the people in the stalls if they would stand, however, the circle followed as well which caught him off “Oh top tier too! Fuck yeah”. And after a quick encore, both Matt and his band waved goodbye and departed the stage.
Regardless of the few little annoyances, it really was an incredible show. There’s something about having such soulful & passionate music in such a beautiful building/room. If you’ve been on the fence about seeing him or have always wanted to (as I did), I definitely recommend it. It was a nice way to spend a Thursday night. Close your eyes and feel the music.
Light My Dart Up
No Ordinary Life
All that I see
New Day Coming
Get With The Times
All fired up
Sooth lady wine
Elements / Old man