Bonnie’s simply the best

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Belting it out: Bonnie Tyler PICTURE: JO BOYD RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY

Gibbston Valley Winery concert-goers didn’t let cloud and rain dampen the spirits on Saturday.

Welsh songstress Bonnie Tyler, known for her husky tones, opened the gig to chants of “Bonnie” from an eager crowd.

She belted out classics Total Eclipse of the Heart and Holding out for a Hero, as well as a couple of Bee Gees and Janis Joplin numbers.

Before singing Tina Turner’s Simply the Best, Tyler, 65,  told the crowd it was one of her  favourite songs.

“When I was a little girl I would sing it in my bedroom with my hairbrush in front of the mirror.”

Up next was Alan Parsons Live Project.

Eye in the Sky: Alan Parsons Live Project PICTURE: JO BOYD RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY
Eye in the Sky: Alan Parsons Live Project
PICTURE: JO BOYD RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY

While he has toured New Zealand previously to promote a studio album, Parsons, 68, has never performed here. His opening line, before I Robot, was also a first.

“I have never said good afternoon to a crowd before — it has always been good evening.”

Many of 16,000 strong crowd had to brave rain and many donned waterproofs to enjoy the music and dancing.

One concert-goer raised concerns about event security, despite no arrests being made by police. Al Williams, who travelled down from Timaru, also questioned the drunkenness  among spectators and  crowd control measures.

The organisers of the annual event, Greenstone Entertainment, disagreed and told the Otago Daily Times no incidents were reported.

Williams, who was standing in the front three rows during the Icehouse performance, claims he was hit in the back of the head with a bottle. He was also concerned someone could be seriously injured by crowd surges, and about a lack of visible security.

Site manager Dean Calvert dismisses the claims, saying more than 60 security staff were on site to ensure patrons’ safety.

He was surprised Williams did not report his concerns to security staff or police at the time.

“There were four security guards at the front, as was the stage manager. There were people dancing and having a good time. It would never have been regarded as a dangerous situation.”

Electric blue: Icehouse frontman Iva Davies PICTURE: JO BOYD RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY
Electric blue: Icehouse frontman Iva Davies
PICTURE: JO BOYD RIVERLEA PHOTOGRAPHY

However, Williams says that’s not what he observed.

“There was an absolute lack of security, no-one monitoring the crowd at the front.”

Not wanting to be a “party pooper”, he said overall the day was great, but organisers should review their policy of allowing people to use glass.

Long-term Queenstowner Chris Campbell, who has attended the annual event regularly, was surprised by the comments about security. He didn’t see any evidence of crowd surging or large numbers of drunk people.

“I visited the dancing area on more than one occasion, especially during Alan Parsons Live Project and Icehouse, and I found everyone in that area was very well behaved.

“Obviously, there were people there enjoying themselves but I certainly didn’t see anyone who was grossly intoxicated. There were a few leery people that I bumped into during the day but no levels of intoxication that would be alarming.”

He also praised police for engaging with the crowd and said levels of security were high. Calvert walked around with police to assess levels of intoxication.

Serves were reduced between 4.30-5pm to two plastic cups, and from 5-6.30pm, no alcohol was served.

He admitted a few people may have “overindulged” but overall intoxication levels were low.

About half a dozen people were sent home in taxis.

Senior sergeant Jon Bisset, of Queenstown, said police were pleased with behaviour.

“Overall we were generally happy with the majority of the public. There were no arrests made at the concert. Obviously a couple of people were treated due to intoxication and that is concerning to us. But overall [we are] happy with how the crowd behaved.”

Pro Med, the private medical provider working at the event, assessed several people for pre-existing conditions but not alcohol-related incidents.

One woman injured an ankle after slipping and one woman contacted St John Ambulance directly after fracturing an arm.

St John Station manager Keith Raymond confirmed two women were taken to Lakes District Hospital and transferred to Dunedin for further treatment.

St John staff were called to two traffic accidents on the Gibbston Highway before attending the concert.

Police confirmed a car veered off the road and down a bank at 6.30pm and at 6.44pm a two-car collision was reported, also on State Highway 6, between Roaring Meg and Nevis Bluff.

Otago Daily Times