22 Oct 2021

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Jon Toogood - Gig Review: Jon Toogood @ Waihi Beach Hotel, Waihi Beach - 04/01/2021

05 Jan 2021 // A review by Brendan McCarthy
The Jon Toogood Solo, Acoustic tour rolled into the Waihi Beach Hotel last night and I was indeed an eager attendee. Jon has been regularly performing in this format for the last few years but the stars have not always been aligned to allow me to catch the gig, so I wanted to make sure that I did not let this opportunity pass by again.

For any readers that have made it to the second paragraph and are not familiar with the name Jon Toogood, then I highly recommend you check out the band Shihad. Jon is the front man for this award winning, internationally renowned, iconic New Zealand rock band, formed in 1988.

I know right? That’s like ages ago.

Well yes, it is and I can list multiple reasons why Jon and Shihad are still trucking along in a world where to the majority, rock music is not as relevant as it once was but the outstanding reason at the very top of the list is of course, great songs. Great songs transcend generations and can be performed in any format as long as passion is retained in the performance.

Jon took to the WBH stage at the somewhat early time of 8pm and instantly projected the casual nature of the show by speaking to the 100 strong audience while he tuned his guitars. After a short welcoming introduction, Jon informed the crowd that the structure of the evening would be a knees-up singalong to some of his favourite songs, encouraging audience participation.

Tuned up and ready to go, Jon launched the evening with the instantly recognizable opening chords to Neil Young’s – Hey Hey My My, fittingly starting the show with the lyrics "Rock and roll will never die".

First song jitters over and done with its original time with a concise version of Think You’re So Free from the last Shihad album FVEY, followed up with the well-known track Run from the one and only Pacifier album prompting the first of the requested singalongs of the evening.

The format is now established and Jon continues through his set, bouncing between his favourite covers and Shihad originals with ease. He performs standout versions of iconic Kiwi songs including Th' Dudes – Bliss, The Exponents – Victoria, Dragon - Rain and the current Shihad release, a cover of Split Enz – I Got You, while interweaving superb versions of Brightest Star, Home Again and Pacifier.

Technical problems during Pacifier prompt a retelling of the now infamous Police Horse joke that Jon told to an audience of music industry people in the USA during the Pacifier period, causing the end of the contract and the return to New Zealand. The pain of what could have been is now the stuff of legend.

Jon fittingly apologies for the Pacifier era and gets on with the job. A job that he does very well.

The set is rounded off with a stand up acoustic version of Ace of Spades by Motorhead – not something that you see every day.

Acoustic solo gigs are honest and upfront and allow the audience to see the true artist as they are with no production to hide behind.

Jon is a master of the truth and delivers his version of rock n roll on acoustic guitar as only he can.

Long may he continue to do so.

Lastly because I am old enough to say this.


Photos from Jon's Leigh Sawmill show on 3 January, courtesy and copyright to Morgan Creative.


About Jon Toogood

NZ music legend, and guitarist and vocalist for Shihad and The Adults.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jon Toogood


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