Stellar* were just stellar at The Tuning Fork!

Stellar* – The Tuning Fork, March 09 2018

There just isn’t a better way to say it.  From the time the band came on to the last chords of Violent, Boh Runga and the team delivered an evening of delight and nostalgia. It kind of feels a little crazy saying that given the band hit its straps with the release of Mix back in 1999, next year will the 20th anniversary of that mega-selling album and the songs sounded just as fresh as they did when the album came out. 

The set started off with a wonderful welcome from Boh as they leapt into the opening track Slow Burn, which was anything but, followed by All It Takes and Undone.  The crowd, which was a wonderful mix of young and a slightly older generation, whooped and sang along right from the start and really set the tone for the rest of the show.

A third of the way into the set, a more acoustic vibe was to come with songs Taken and Miracles from the albums Magic Line and Something Like Strangers respectively. However,  there were a few technical issues with the acoustic guitar. While this was addressed by the roadie (unsuccessfully I might add) bass player Kurt Shanks entertained the crowd with some old stories and jokes, which just added to the sentiment of the night. It was a celebration of a band that delivered two number one selling albums in New Zealand and created a soundtrack for many that transitioned them into the noughties.

Notwithstanding the little glitch here and there, Stellar* burned through the rest of the setlist like they have never been away, enjoying every minute of it along with the crowd.  The sound was excellent and the band themselves were tight and it was great to hear those signature lead guitar licks from Chris Van de Geer that makes Stellar’s sound their own. A special mention has to made about Boh’s vocals: she is sounding as good as ever and it truly spotlights what a talent and national treasure she really is.

The set closed with a nod to Sharon O’Neil singing Maxine which was an excellent rendition and Part of Me, off Mix, saw them leave the stage with all the usual yelling and foot stomping you would expect from the now very vocal crowd wanting the inevitable encore.

We weren’t left waiting too long before they all came back and closed the night off with Nerve and then the song everyone had been waiting for Violent. Gosh it was the standout track for me, always has been I guess, along with What You Do (Bastard) (which was also splendid played earlier in the evening) but they really nailed it as did the crowd with the Whoh oh oh chants and chorus lines. There wasn’t a stationary body in the house by the end of it.

With promises or at least hints that they may be coming back to celebrate that 20-year milestone I don’t think there would be anyone at the gig who would argue with that. I know I will be there!

David Boyle

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