Reb Fountain and Dave Khan – Wine Cellar May 22, 2020

If last night’s show at the Wine Cellar marked a new beginning for live music in Auckland, it couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Reb Fountain and Dave Khan treated the lucky audience members (only 30 tickets available) to two sets of beautifully realized music.

Logistically, the crew at Wine Cellar faced a few hurdles to put this show on, but things went relatively smoothly from start to finish. Manager and soundman Rohan Evans needed to make sure that all 30 patrons were seated at tables and then they were served their beverages by staff going table to table.  This worked well, except for the occasional time a staff member blocked my view during the performance…but that was temporary.

The vibe was classic Wine Cellar, with the seating situation reminding many of the old Wine Cellar and its overstuffed couches. Familiar faces appeared at the door and we all quickly reacquainted ourselves, having not been to a live show in at least two months. This really is a close-knit scene and I think the importance of this community of like-minded music lovers was apparent to everyone who attended.

We all took out seats shortly before 8:30pm as Dave Khan started off the evening by announcing “Its Wine Cellar time again!”.

With Reb on backing vocals, Dave got things going with a lovely version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s Getting’ By.

It set the mood perfectly.

Not known for his songwriting, Dave treated us to a collection of well-chosen covers, with Reb joining in for many of them. They included The Stones’ Dead Flowers, The Flying Burrito Brothers Sin City and another Jerry Jeff Walker tune, I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight. Yes, it was time to close up the honky tonks.

For many, the highlight of the brief set was a mesmerizing version of John Cale’s Dying On The Vine, followed, somewhat surprisingly, by Randy Newman’s Short People.

Dave closed out his portion of the show with a loving reading of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, and we all made our way to the bar, discussing what we had just seen and heard.

Before too long, the two artists were back on stage, this time with Reb front and center. She started her set with another choice cover, a haunting version of Neil Young’s After The Goldrush.

I’ll tell you, if the show had ended right there I would have felt I got my money’s worth.

Reb Commented on how nervous she was as this was her first performance in nine weeks (since WOMAD). The up side is that her voice was well rested and she sounded strong and pure.

We then heard a few Reb originals beginning with Faster, taken from her very excellent self-titled new album.

The hour-long set consisted of fan favourites such as Hopeful And Hopeless and Gold, well-chosen covers…Kiwi classic Blue Smoke along with a surprisingly lovely version of Paul McCartney & Wings’ Let Em In.

But the highlight was the new songs. One could feel the temperature rise in the room as the duo launched into Don’t You Know Who I Am. It’s a song that will, no doubt, become a highlight of many of Reb’s shows to come.

The encore was a touching version of Lighthouse, from the new album. By then the thirty lucky ticketholders were out of their seats and standing in admiration.

It was a very special night…a chance to revisit old friends and hear some excellent music. If we are going to be “stuck” just hearing local live music for the near future, this is a perfect example of how lucky we are.

I hope I never have to go for another two months without live music, but if I do, I’d love to hear Reb and Dave again when it’s over.

Marty Duda

Of course venues such as The Wine Cellar are in danger of closing due to the Covid Crisis. Please, if you can, go to this page, and give what you can.

Dave Khan set list:

  1. Getting’ By (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  2. Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones cover)
  3. I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight (Jerry Jeff Walker cover)
  4. Dying On The Vine (John Cale cover)
  5. Short People (Randy Newman cover)
  6. Clay Pigeons (John Prine cover)
  7. Sin City (Flying Burrito Brothers cover)
  8. The Gambler (Kenny Rogers cover)

Reb Fountain set list:

  1. After The Goldrush (Neil Young cover)
  2. Faster
  3. Dance With Death Alive
  4. Blue Smoke (Pixie Williams cover)
  5. Hopeful And Hopeless
  6. Gold
  7. Hawks and Doves
  8. Samson
  9. Get The Devil Out (Nadia Reid cover)
  10. Don’t You Know Who I Am
  11. Let Em In (Paul McCartney cover)
  12. Lighthouse