When the amazing Lisa Scanes from Allianz Australia contacted me to enquire about a booking in NZ for a corporate event in the Bay Of Islands, I got excited.

Each November Alliance – Broker & Agency Division treats their top brokers for the year to a shindig over a few days and they always feature a classic aussie rock artist to entertain the winning brokers.

Lisa explained the recent years events were all held in Au featuring Ian Moss one year, James Reyne and Mark Seymour on other years. However this year they were holding the event in NZ.
So she figured lets have a Kiwi – Aussie band to entertain the Aussies in NZ.

We jumped at the chance and accepted the offer, negotiated a fee and flew to NZ – to perform an international show so technicaly we were now an international band, yee ha.
It would be 4 day deal due to travel logistics up to the Bay Of Islands to the beautiful Omata Estate winery near Russell.

We landed in Auckland, picked up our hire Van and checked into a cheap Hotel on Queen St, the main street of Auckland.
Auckland is my home town so I know the place well and planned a few activities for the boys that night ,before we were to head off the next morning for our pleasant 3 hour drive up North.

On our first night in Auckland we walked the length of Queen St and then caught the Ferry to Devonport, Home of Tim Finn and home to many memories of venues I’d played my younger days in Auckland before I moved to Sydney in 1999.

We arrived in Russell, checked in to our motel, then worked how early should we get to the gig for soundcheck. Trying to figure out that we were using all hired gear and we’d need to check it and test it etc but we’d be stuck at the venue for hours before show time.

Technical glitch

We almost didn’t have enough time on site due to the fact that when Aiden was about 45 minutes into a 60 minute upload of his gigantic file of sounds from his laptop into the hired Nord keyboard – the power suddenly cut out.
Fearing the keyboard probably hadn’t saved any of the incomplete file being uploaded,  Aiden was not a happy chappy judging by the colour of the language emanating from his cake hole.

I was just as annoyed as the success of the show was on me the band leader & booker. It was even more annoying to discover the reason the power went out was because a young staff member had simply decide to unplug the main power to re route a cable to open a window in the main building – she just decided to unplug the cable – boom.
Another 60 minutes later we were ready for sound check.

Lisa had told us we needed to hide in the house as having ‘Split Enz’ as the guest artist was a big surprise.
We were only doing 1 x 60 min set in costume as Split Enz.

So we hid in the house and out the back chatting to the caterers and staff, whilst drinking exquisite wine and eating nice salmon drizzled with Manuka honey, awaiting our call to trek out and appear on stage.

I opened up the show by saying, just off  the cuff….we were Split Enz, as I often do, and that (for this show) we’d come all the way from Australia, (just an of the cuff silly comment as of course we’re a tribute show, anyone can see that.)

The gig was great, they danced and sang, it was a seated audience of no more than 30 top award winning brokers from all over Au.

Some punters actually thought we might be the real Split Enz – haha

The next day Paul the drummer was laughing when he told me that after the gig one curious guy asked and stated “hey you guys aren’t really Split Enz are ya? The guy wasn’t sure , he though we might be Paul chuckled.
Then another guy also asked Paul…..”hey just wondering, how many original members in your lineup”?

This was hilarious that some of them thought we were the real deal , but in their credit every other year they’d SEEN real aussie legends – Ian Moss, Mark Seymour, James Reyne etc so I did understand the questions and thoughts but it was still hilarious to us!

The next day some of us drove back to Auckland Airport, others took their own holidays around Northland.

We arrived back home now with a new band title ( just between us and maybe for the odd cheeky marketing campaign), ‘The Crowdies Show – International Tribute Band’

Thanks Lisa, thanks Alliance – one of the best gigs of my life – its always and honour to be flown anywhere for a show, especially overseas. We’ve also been flown to QLD a few times and my self i’ve been flown to New York City for a solo gig.

These are the times when I feel so blessed to play music for a living.