The Down Under Tour of 2000 (Australia & New Zealand, with Kenny Ball's band) was a dream come true for a fan from the early sixties. As importers of Timeless, Lake, and Upbeat CDs, getting the CD sales locally was all but impossible, as shops down here are just as ignorant of "our music" as they are in the UK.
We tagged along with the band for the first New Zealand concert in Christchurch, then travelled to Palmerston North and Wellington, and finally home for the Auckland Town Hall concert. Then we decided to "assist" at the Brisbane concert, but local union rules made that an impossibility! We assisted Richard Oliver with pre-concert CD and programme sales and took along our Visa zip-zap machine, which we almost wore out, but it cemented a wonderful acceptance by the band of our involvement.
Prior to this tour, my wife had been subjected to a permanent audio assault, and wasn't overly keen on the prospect of joining a bunch of 70-year-olds playing 'my' music... The reality was that the band(s) accepted her too, and she now looks back on that tour as one of the highlights of our life together. The band now welcomes us wherever we catch up with them, and so far, that has been in Germany and Holland (as a guest of Richard Oliver), Chichester (tied in nicely with the Goodwood Speed Festival), Mansfield (where I presented Chris with a painting of his Lotus Elite at Mallory Park), and finally at Stroud.
Loved every minute of every concert and am humbled at the wonderful reception we receive from the whole band. They are welcome to relax Down Under any time, as last time it was all go and no time to relax. John Crocker would be always be welcome too!!!
Ray Green - Auckland, New Zealand