21 November 2017
"OK, let's be old" said one half of a couple heading for the Stevie Nicks concert at Spark Arena. I have to say that made me feel good about going to see Frazey Ford play next door at the Tuning Fork.
Ford was a founder of the Be Good Tanyas, a sweet Canadian folk-country trio that gathered a following in the early 2000s. But Frazey Ford has been carving a solo career since the release of Obadiah in 2010, and tonight was all about her own repertoire.
She has a mournful voice with a rich bluesy country twang that sings of hurt, suffering and heartbreak, "including several from this year alone." But no amount of pain and loss could dim the enthusiasm of the crowd tonight, who devoured every morsel in an extended show.
The show opened with Garrett Cato, a Canadian-Japanese singer songwriter, who performed a series of finely crafted solo acoustic songs. He seemed genuinely taken aback by the warmth and attention of the early arrivals at the show.
Cato was a perfect warm-up for the main act, and Ford delivered on expectations. She balanced absorption and passion in each of her songs with an easy conversational rapport with the crowd, especially a group who had flown up from Dunedin for the show.
She gave the crowd plenty of favourites like Blue Streak Mama, Lovers in a Dangerous Time, and Bird of Paradise, along with a string of brand new songs that felt like we were sampling a preview of a soon-to-be-released wine vintage. When the crowd clamoured for Firecracker, she happily obliged, although not before giving a quick heads-up on the road map to a surprised band, and then needing a reminder from her followers on one section of lyrics. But the crowd loved her willingness to deliver, and one weak spot couldn't dampen the enjoyment of an evening, where in Auckland, summer was well and truly arriving.
Funny how memory plays tricks. I was going through my Spotify collection to check what songs were played and I could have sworn Lovers in a Dangerous Time was one of them, but apparently not according to three friends who were also there.