Phoenix Foundation and the NZSO Live @ The Auckland Town Hall

Phoenix Foundation and the NZSO Live @ The Auckland Town Hall

The stage set, The NZSO magnificently splayed across the stage of the Auckland Town Hall, each department sectioned off dedicated to their instrumental finery, eager anticipation, awaiting the players to the stage. In this case, Kiwi band, The Phoenix Foundation.

WORDS AND PHOTOS BY WAL REID

Music NationTo celebrate their 20th year The Phoenix Foundation have joined forces with the NZSO for a series of unique concerts, a feat The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra has maintained, a successful marriage playing with one of the ‘unsung’ heroes of New Zealand’s musical oligarchy.

Led by chief ‘Phoenix’ Samuel Flynn Scott, his imposing tall figure looming over the cluttered stage, decked out in retro suit and hat, he recounted to the audience his ‘dream about dressing up like Elton John” and found himself in an interesting quandary with a telescopic duster in hand on their first song Hitchcock.

Music NationA smattering of hits ensued, including older tunes like Cars of Eden and the ambling pop catchiness of Black Mould, giving way to newer tracks Transit of Venus or the deliciously titled Miserable Meal all sounding majestic given the NZSO treatment. Having the orchestra backing gave their music a soundtrack, as if the songs were part of the incidental music of a film, each song gave an atmospheric position on stage, needless to say, the collab between the two was a gamble that handsomely paid off.

The Phoenix Foundation is one of the most iconic New Zealand bands of the 21st century – period. Formed in Wellington in the late-90s, they have been lauded here and overseas and feted by rock royalty, from Neil Finn and Jarvis Cocker to Iggy Pop.

Yet here they were, the usual japes shared from the stage between Scott and fellow band cohort Luke Buda, as they kept contact with the crowd at a minimum preferring to let the music do the talking. “You all look great, You’ve done your part” quipped Buda as the swell of the orchestra, signalled the beginning of the next track.

Music Nation

The Kiwi band has also contributed to several movie soundtracks, including film-maker Taika Waititi’s celebrated box office smash Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Drawing from their much vast musical catalogue, The Phoenix Foundation and Orchestra performed a unique arrangement of audience favourites and deep album cuts. The rich tapestry of Classical music fused with swirling melancholic Phoenix songs Buffalo or St Kevin were delivered with gusto having a profound effect on those in attendance.

Music Nation

To say tonight was an experiment denotes a possible element of failure at any given hurdle. However, there was little doubt that it would be anything but a success. An experiment maybe, but there is no qualm Orchestra Conductor Hamish McKeich’s vision was not only a personal quest of sorts but also a brilliant marketing coup de grâce, opening up a whole new audience to popular music culture, and vice-versa.

If you get a chance to see this dynamic musical event in Christchurch or Dunedin at the end of this month, grab the bull (or Buffalo) with both hands, and let go for the ride that well, has all the elements for a fun night out – Classical Music plus The Phoenix Foundation – win, win.

Even though my favourite track (and music video) 40 Years was omitted from the set list, I was still as happy as a pig in muck. Hopefully, it won’t be another 20 years before it’s added to the encore set.

IK Multimedia's Syntronik

Related posts

DUE TO UNPRECEDENTED DEMAND! ELTON JOHN ADDS NEW AUCKLAND DATE TO FAREWELL YELLOW BRICK ROAD NEW ZEALAND TOUR

DUE TO UNPRECEDENTED DEMAND! ELTON JOHN ADDS NEW AUCKLAND DATE TO FAREWELL YELLOW BRICK ROAD NEW ZEALAND TOUR

Revealed last weekend in a hugely anticipated announcement, Sir Elton John will bring his epic Farewell Yellow Brick Road World Tour to New Zealand in February 2020. In response to overwhelming demand during the fan pre-sale, Chugg Entertainment and AEG have today announced an additional...

Prodigy Live @ Trusts Arena, Auckland 2019

Prodigy Live @ Trusts Arena, Auckland 2019

From ‘Breathe’ to ‘Smack my Bitch’ up the Prodigy still give an explosive performance and instigate a raging mosh that rocks. WORDS BY SHAUN MOODY - PHOTOS BY DAVID WATSON If you had never been to the Trust Arena before this rave was one not to be missed and was well worth the Uber...

WOMAD NZ 2019 festival schedule is announced!

WOMAD NZ 2019 festival schedule is announced!

The internationally established three-day world music, arts and dance festival WOMAD is all about artist discovery and once again, the 2019 festival features an array of artists from all corners of the globe. Artists from countries as varied as Benin, Belgium, Ireland, Wales, Mexico and...