18 Mar 2018

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Gig Review: Sol3 Mio @ Wharepai Domain, Tauranga - 6/01/2018

07 Jan 2018 // A review by Corinner

It was a wet and wild weekend in Tauranga, wild enough for even the most intrepid big name International artist to delay a concert for a few days, so it was not without trepidation that I kept an eye on the skies as the hours ticked ever closer to Sol3 Mio kicking off. I wouldn't have been overly worried had I only had to review the concert, but I also had to photograph, in the standard “three songs and your out of the pit” time frame. Did the rain fall at all Saturday? No it was rather mild, until 6.00 rolled around the exact time myself and my photography colleague went through the gates. It bucketed down.

But as bits of blue sky started to peek through the clouds and the rain turned to a drizzle we became optimistic we could do this and headed to the area in front of the stage to scope the scene. The stage was very high, I almost needed a stool to see over it but that was fine because the rain has stopped, or so I thought.

The crowds were flooding in and the despite the damp, the atmosphere was great, nothing was going to stop the fans from seeing three powerful operatic voices resonate out into the Tauranga evening sky.

Position assumed, waiting for MC Brian Kelly to welcome the boys onto the stage, then action. Fortunately for me I had my plus one as my ears for those first few songs as I concentrated on photography and also as luck would have it dodging the big fat rain drops as they fell on my head, and gear. The heavens once again decided we all needed a good dousing.

I was lucky I got some ok shots from the side of the stage that did not need big drops of water photoshopped out, and I was this close to Pene, Moses and Amitai, so I consider myself pretty lucky.

That was that, I didn't want to be escorted off the premises for photographing what I shouldn't, so I settled down next to my plus one and listened to Sol3 Mio sing. I tried to take notes on my soggy phone and wet notebook, but in the end gave up and tried to commit every moment of this spectacular performance to memory. I also had no run sheet, but between my friend and myself I think I managed to get the names of at least most of the songs in the second set.

So being as close as I was to the two tenors and one baritone, I could feel their charisma radiate out into the audience as soon as they took to the stage, Moses making an entrance first up. When you are that close to the stage directly in front of the performers, the power of their voices was indeed nothing short of spectacular.

Towards the end of the first part of the show, the lads called upon the audience to make anyone with the name of Maria stand up and make herself known, a lucky lady with lovely pink hair was the chosen one to be summoned onto the stage then the lucky lass was serenaded by the beautiful song of the same name from the musical The Westside Story. Looking slightly shell shocked, Tauranga's lovely Maria had Sol3 Mio sing to her on stage as the audience watched on probably all wishing their name was Maria.

The first set became a bit of a soggy blur to me unfortunately however the last song Happy Christmas (War Is Over) a cover of the John Lennon classic, was stunning. Originally recorded on their Christmas album with Hollie Smith, the trio was accompanied by the Pati brother's very talented sister whose name I lost in in a wind gust just as she was introduced, in hind sight I should of introduced myself as I walked past her by the merch tent, but she was pretty busy talking to admirers of her admirable vocal skills.

There was a short break, then the second set began with Stella. The younger generation among the crowd seemed to love this song as there where many running up to the barricade in front of the stage to take selfies with Sol3 Mio singing in the back ground, this also got a few people to their feet in preparation for dancing.

Yellow Bird was next introducing the deep rich tones of the double bass along with a ukulele and guitar, this flowed beautifully into a Hawaiian Christmas carol called Mele Kalikmaka at which point a member of the crew called Poss (I think) took to the stage and started to play the double bass, it was brilliant, and those people threatening to dance moved ever closer to the barrier in front of the stage and began moving.

The next song was an original Christmas song called Return To Santa which is written by Moses, it was certainly very catchy and more people started to sway and clap hands. Crowd participation may have been a bit slow but it was steady with people starting to sing to a very interesting rendition of Blue Bayou which also included Pene on bongo drums. These guys are not only very talented musically, they are also faultless showmen who are masters at getting the crowd involved, they are interesting story tellers as well as funny with enough charisma to light up the whole of Tauranga on a stormy weekend.

Next came the very popular Volare, and the crowd almost went wild and the call went out to “dance the rain away”, it must have worked for a while at least.

Coming to the end of the concert and a medley of music came out in the form of Ten Guitars and Suspicious Minds, ending up with a popular Tom Jones classic. I had slowly started making my way to the exit to avoid being crushed by the masses but I stood in awe for a moment looking straight down the field as the lights shone on hundreds of people dancing and enjoying themselves despite a soggy start. It was almost surreal.

The beauty of Sol3 Mio I discovered is the ability to engage completely with the crowd and have fun, they are incredible opera singers which had people both young and old up dancing and singing. They infused the concert with humor and delivered magic.

It was indeed an enchanting evening.

Review written by Corinne Rutherford

About Sol3 Mio

Made up of two tenor brothers, Pene and Amitai Pati from Mangere, and their North Shore baritone cousin Moses Mackay, SOL3 MIO is the combination of three powerful and moving operatic voices, with more than a dash of uncontainable Samoan humour. By their own definition they are first and foremost ‘classical singers bridging the gap with contemporary’ , but the unique way in which they do it has already shown the potential to cut through the critical cognoscenti, and appeal to audiences who wouldn’t normally be found anywhere near an aria. Their onstage brotherly bonhomie, off the cuff banter and impeccable comedic timing is no act, simply an extension of their natural selves, and the culmination of a lifetime’s worth of singing, performing and entertaining.

In some respects their backgrounds are typical – families moving over from Samoa to seek a better life in New Zealand and having to make sacrifices in the process, as well as finding value in music, choirs, hard work and an ability to see the absurdity in life. However, what they have made of these solid, but modest, beginnings is anything but average. Amongst their numerous awards and accolades Pene was the 2010 NZ Performer Of The Year, Amitai won the 2012 Lexus Song Quest and Moses was recognized as an Emerging Artist by the Dame Malvina Major Foundation last year. Though all three have studied for Bachelor Of Music graduates from the University of Auckland, the foundations of the stagecraft that they have added to exceptional raw talent, also comes from a crammed musical CV that spans everything from weekly childhood performances in rest homes, to backing George Benson. It was when Moses and Pene sang in the choir behind Andrea Bocelli in 2008, that their eyes and ears were fully opened to the possibilities of opera, setting them on a course that would lead to the formation of SOL3 MIO, three years later.

Performing together as a trio at Pene’s farewell, after he had been selected to attend the prestigious Wales International Academy Of Voice, an audience member piped up and suggested they should form a group – laughed off at the time, the idea took hold. Within a year, all three had been individually chosen to go to Wales for tuition under the highly esteemed Dennis O’Neill – an incredible opportunity but also one with a combined cost of over $100,000. Rolling their sleeves up, they launched SOL3 MIO with a series of fundraisers, that began with high stress in a half filled hall in Massey High School, and concluded with a triumphant show at a sold out Auckland Town Hall in October 2012 – funds sorted. Now with a self-titled album of their work, beginning naturally with the eponymous Neapolitan song, and ending with a rousing We Are Samoa, the stage is set for the next chapter in what is already, an extraordinary story.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sol3 Mio


On Another Note
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Sol3 Mio
Year: 2013
Type: Album

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