The Seekers, (L-R) Bruce Woodley, Judith Durham, Keith Potger and Athol Guy, attend a photocall in London ahead of a concert as part their 50th anniversary tour. Photo Getty Images
If the ho-hum reaction from my colleagues yesterday is a
reliable guide, then it's possible I'm the only person in the
province who's outraged by the news the Seekers are not,
repeat not, coming to Dunedin when they tour New Zealand
later this year.
OK, so maybe ‘‘outraged'' is just a little hyperbolic, but
sad, frustrated and confused would certainly describe my mood
as I write this, having digested the nigh-unpalatable truth
that of the five venues chosen by the evergreen Australians,
Dunedin did not make the cut.
Instead, next November, they will play in Wellington,
Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton and New Plymouth.
I'm not so much sad for myself -I've seen them at least twice
on previous tours - but more for the southern fans (and I'm
including our friends across the border in Southland) who
have been overlooked by yet another highly popular group.
When I checked with DVML yesterday, they told me they got the
news at the same time as I did - ‘‘which does happen now and
again if a promoter has already made the decision on where
the tour will go''.
The truly depressing fact is this not a new issue for
Dunedin. We've already been bypassed this year by several
headline acts, including Katy Perry and Jethro Tull, to name
but two from a lengthy list. And I can't, for the life of me,
see how it's going to get any better.
So, let's speculate on why it's come to this. Here's a few
possibilities as I see them. -
Geography: we are too far away for ease of travel by artists.
Population: we don't have the numbers to guarantee full
Weather: our (unwarranted) reputation for being cold and
miserable puts them off.
Status: Dunedin is no longer seen as a ‘‘main centre''.
Or, A.N. Other (readers' suggestions welcomed!)
What I think we can safely exclude from the list is venue
suitability. An expensively renovated Dunedin Town Hall has
proved more than adequate for shows by the Seekers previously
and the same goes for the Regent Theatre, while the stadium
has handled what might becalled ‘‘super acts'' previously.
As for the Seekers, well, they might all be in their 70s
(Judith Durham, 71, Bruce Woodley, 72, Keith Potger, 73 and
Athol Guy, 74), but who really cares? Not, apparently, the
crowds who attended the 15 sellout shows in the UK earlier
this year, during their golden jubilee tour.
By my count they've played shows in Dunedin in 1968, 1976,
1998 and 2000 (I may have missed some dates) and I have great
memories of the last two, especially in 1998, when they
played for two hours for 2500 fans.
Looking through my scrapbooks, however, I note that in 2000 I
wrote they had made their last appearance in Dunedin, not
that I really believed it, given the group's penchant for
This time, however, it appears the carnival may truly be