Concert Review: Biggest Pub Gig In The World! Th’ Dudes Last Show Ever – Spark Arena December 12, 2020

A big night for Kiwi music fans of a certain age as they celebrated Pub culture and bid a fond farewell to Th’Dudes.

Having only arrived in New Zealand in 1994 I was of two minds about attending this show as it seemed strange to be sharing in someone else’s nostalgia. But the chance to finally see Th’ Dudes at this, their last gig, “pulled me back in”.

I’m glad I did…but I admit to getting off to a rocky start.

Auckland Spark Arena was set up as a giant 70s pub with stands displaying iconic landmarks such as Windsor Castle, The Gluepot and, of course, The White Lady. So I settled in with a burger and a beer and got down to business.

The lineup was:
Hammond Gamble (ex-Street Talk)
Hello Sailor
Citizen Band
Jordan Luck Band
Th’ Dudes

Mr. Gamble and his band played perfectly good pub rock-style blues while Hello Sailor, fronted by Harry Lyon, did their best to rekindle the spirit of Graham Brazier and Dave McArtney. Original drummer Ricky Ball was also on board, but by the end of their well-intentioned set I was feeling as though maybe I was not sharing the vibe.

Click on any thumbnail to view a full size gallery of Hammond Gamble. Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk
Click on any thumbnail to view a full size gallery of Hello Sailor. Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

That changed when Citizen Band hit the stage. Geoff and Mike Chunn injected plenty of genuine energy and rock & roll spirit into the venue and by the time they finished I, and many others, were grinning ear to ear. Click on any thumbnail to view a full size gallery of Citizen Band.

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

With a thick, sticky layer of spilled beer covering the Spark Arena floor, I was worried that my sneaks may be permanently stuck and I would go home barefoot. I managed to pull them from the gook as Jordan played through his standard set throwing in a well-received Forever Tuesday Morning along the way. Click on any thumbnail to view a full size gallery of Jordan Luck.

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

Th’ Dudes, were, in a word, awesome!

I am so happy I finally caught them live. Dave Dobbyn spit out riffs while dressed as a green elf while Peter Urlich was the consummate showman. The band, featuring “Dudette” Victoria Girling-Butcher rocked from beginning to the inevitable ending that consisted of Be Mine Tonight and Bliss. The late Ian Morris’ daughter joined in for the finale and the audience was ecstatic.

There was an encore…a fun-filled run-through of Iggy’s The Passenger and then it was all over. We all un-stuck ourselves from the beer-soaked floor and filed out as the PA blasted, what else…All The Young Dudes.

Click on any thumbnail to view a full size gallery of Th’ Dudes. Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

Marty Duda