Mission the Mark Again


If it was a joke, it would start with “Hey, Mission Concert, the nineties called!” And that’s how we got this year’s “big”, “surprise” acts.

Each member of the “UK Invasion Party” (they’ve already had to do an emergency rebranding – see below), comprising of Ronan Keating, Melanie C of the Spice Girls, Billy Ocean, Leo Sayer and Sharon Corr of the Corrs will perform for around 20 minutes at Mission Concert in February next year.

It all sounds pretty luke-warm to me:
Ronan Keating is ok, but his recent gigs on “reality” singing shows have diluted his credibility for me.
‘Sporty Spice’ was, at least, one of the Spice Girls who could actually sing (lord help our ears if they’d snared Victoria Beckham!)
Sharon Corr was the violinist, back-up singer and 1/3rd of the ¾ sensationally attractive (sorry Brother Corr) siblings that made up “The Corrs”.
Billy Ocean got out of my ears, into his car and drove off into the sunset years ago.
And I had to Google Leo Sayer before I could even recognise any of his songs.

As is the way with this age of technology, I immediately jumped online to gauge reaction to the announcement

The Hawke’s Bay Today website’s announcement was a bit drab and “regurgitated press release-ish”, but the comments section was, as always, good for a laugh.

I get very amused by comments vilifying or “knocking” the “knockers.” Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So what is wrong with someone voicing their displeasure at what they consider is another sub-standard Mission line-up?

Hawke’s Bay Today has done a better job of getting wider opinions this year.

Finding a terribly amateur mistake (organisers failed to recognise that Keating and Corr are from the Republic of Ireland and Ocean was born in the Caribbean – not the “United Kingdom” and a very quick way to get into a fight apparently) in Mission Concert organisers’ marketing (or proof-reading / sub-editing) restored a bit of my faith in balanced journalism too.

Getting the basics wrong this year isn’t a Mission Concert first, after a series of wine bottles were printed up for Eric Clapton’s (a recovering alcoholic) show six years ago.

A truer litmus test is the reactions from a wider audience – tourists who come from out of town for Napier’s events, the likes of these Stuff.co.nz commenters.

Online reactions did bring up a very good point.

When Dame Kiri Te Kanawa performed at the inaugural Mission Concert in 1993, it was new, special and spectacular. It set a standard that many other wineries and venues followed.

Now virtually every winery and its dog stages “Mission-esque” concerts and events each year. Many smaller, newer vineyards, parks and venues attract much more up-to-date acts than the Mission has over its 20 year history. Meanwhile Mission acts seem, with a few exceptions, to be getting older and less recognised.

After a spate of less than impressive acts in recent years, Napier’s Mission Concert was becoming more unflatteringly recognised for its drinking and related less-than-world-class attendee behaviour. They could have released DVDs of the concerts under the brand “Baby-Boomers Gone Wild” or the like, but I don’t think sales would have been too flash.

After starting with a hiss and a roar (or rather, a Soprano and some very high notes) two decades ago it feels like the quality of Mission Concerts has dawdled off a bit. Organisers have either lost interest, or lost the plot as to what our gorgeous venue and city deserves.

We are constantly told what a modern and vibrant city Napier is and how “world class” the Mission Concert is supposed to be. But for the same price as a Mission Concert ticket, you can see the likes of Beyonce, Taylor Swift or U2. All massive draw-cards, so why waste your time or money on anything less?

Surely if the Mission Concert is such a “World class” event, it deserves world class acts – as in the biggest artists RIGHT NOW, rather than largely forgotten acts from decades ago.

The Mission, Napier and its visitors deserve far better than what they are currently getting.

1 thought on “Mission the Mark Again

  1. I was very dissapointed by the lineup. I had visions that they might find a good act this year, after reading the Mission Rumors last week, that were pointing towards Sir Paul. I even thought they would grab someone huge like the Eagles. But no, I will be skipping the show yet again.

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