James Taylor Concert in the Vineyard

It’s Sunday here (Saturday back home). Eggs for breakfast for me. Sun shining brightly — Sue did another load of laundry and hung it out on the line to dry while we went for a walk.

We walked down to the Marine Parade, the main street that follows the coastline here in Napier. And while the street is almost always a centre for action, it seemed particularly busy today. Once we got closer we realized the boulevard between the road and the ocean was packed with vendors trying to sell their used books, pots and pans, tools, trinkets, clothes, fresh fruit — it was a giant flea market! We walked through it and then turned around and walked back home again, via the sidewalk along the coast.

After lunch Sue took in the laundry and we wasted a bit of time on that giant crossword puzzle the Winnipeg Free Press puts out every Christmas — Sue had ripped it out of the paper and taken it along, and I found it in the glove box of the car this morning when I went to get the James Taylor concert tickets from the car.

At 4 o’clock we filled up our backpack with the cool lightweight collapsible ‘lawn chairs’ we’d borrowed from Graeme and Robyn, and a few sweaters and light jackets. Then we headed south the 10kms to the Church Road Winery. The tickets said the gates opened at 5 — and we were none too early. We found a parking spot about a kilometre from the winery gates in a residential side street, and walked to the LONG lineup out past the main entry gate. At least the line moved quickly.

Once in we found a place not too far behind the fenced-off ‘premium’ section where there were white chairs set up for the concert. We set up our chairs and then Sue went to check out the food stalls and booths, looking for supper. She came back with a corn dog for me, a big burger for her, and fries to share. As we were sitting in our super-cool camping chairs Sue spotted Graeme and Robyn standing and visiting with some friends, not far from us. We felt a bit strange, sitting there on THEIR chairs, while they were probably having to sit on a blanket on the grass. We got up and went to say hello. They were all friendly, hello, big hug, how was the wedding? oh it was lovely! No! don’t you feel at all bad about those chairs, we’ll be fine. They’d come back from their weekend away at a wedding and driven by the concert venue and stopped to get tickets. Now they had ridden their bikes the 10kms to the concert!

The warm-up band (I forgot their name) were introduced as coming from “Saskatchewan, Ontario”! Whatever that means! The audience was polite. Then the main act, James Taylor and his All-Star Band, came onstage at about 7:30. It was the same band and more-or-less the same show we saw last spring at the MTS Centre. Except it was outdoors, in a beautiful vineyard, with the warm sun setting over the top of a hillside lined with grape vines, and a moon hanging over the hill behind us. The show was very good, and the sound was excellent. J.T. is an old (68-year-old) pro; he’s been singing these songs all his life. He knows what the crowd came to hear, and he gives it to them. He sang all the old favourites, came back for a few encores, and was done by 9:30. We walked the kilometre back to where we’d parked our car.

We drove back to our apartment, had a quick nightcap and watched the CBC National news before going to bed.