The Bliss Tour

Possibly the biggest tour in the world right now – Th’ Dudes farewell ten venues across NZ

As the rest of the world still battles COVID-19, audiences across New Zealand relished every minute of the Th’ Dudes first tour for thirteen years, and sadly their last. Taking in ten venues over twelve dates, beginning in Wellington and culminating in Dunedin, Th’ Dudes and Production Manager Goff (Paul van’t Hof) were repeatedly informed that they were currently the biggest tour in the world. Move over P!nk, Elton, and Ed.

For Goff, Managing Director of The Production Co, it was a tour tinged with sadness, “I was production manager for the 2006 reunion tour when founding member and guitarist Ian (Morris) was still alive.” With this in mind, Goff and the band found all the old footage and photos that they could, uncovering treasures such as Dave Dobbyn’s diary entry the day that he wrote ‘Be Mine Tonight’ which they displayed as the band performed the song.

The concept to revisit the old days was Goff’s and he worked it through with band manager Lorraine Barry and Th’ Dudes frontman Peter Urlich, proposing to create a backdrop of a stack of amps, “I wanted a real retro rock looking show, so a wall of Marshall stacks was the way to go. I’d had the idea a few years ago and some colleagues tried it out in the US and using low-res LED but we went high resolution and the stacks were thirty per cent bigger than real Marshalls this time so it was really imposing.” For the cover of Ian’s Tex Pistol song ‘Game of Love’ they displayed a montage of photos of Ian and the band’s early days on the amp stacks, and did the same thing utilising the original video for ‘That Look in your Eyes.’

The band and Goff relied on local suppliers to supplement the touring system meaning they toured with just one truck, “Partly, we wanted to support the local guys because of what everyone is going through, but it also made sense. It saved us on transport costs with the tour being both North and South islands, and the locals know the venues which usually brings a great result and saves us time, crew and accommodation costs.”

Reflecting on the tour Goff says, “It was definitely sad not having all the original band out but having Ian’s brother Rikki there was amazing, particularly when he sang his song ‘Nobody Else’ for Ian. The houses were packed out and all three shows at Auckland Town Hall sold out really quickly. It was a special tour.”

Having worked with Dave Dobbyn for years, The Production Co are also coming off the back of his sixteen date Open Up regional tour, and this weekend have the LED Marshall stacks out again for ‘The Biggest Pub Show in the World’ at Spark Arena. This is Th’ Dudes last ever show and is hyped as looking like, “Something that’s just stepped out of the eighties – big, bold, black but not overtly technical. Just turn it on and turn it up.” The following night sees them working with the Drax Project at The Black Barn and they have some touring summer shows booked, “We are lucky enough to have booked out October, November and December but I am nervous about next year. A lot of events that were postponed due to lockdown have gone ahead over the last couple of months and kept us busy. But without the international tours, the corporate sector looking very quiet, and the community sector struggling for funding, I think it will be a difficult year.”

Th’ Dudes Bliss Tour may remain the biggest tour in the world for some time.

Th’ Team

Production Management, Production Design and LD Goff. FOH – Chris Tate. Monitors – Kerry Furlong. Lighting systems – Zach Smith. LED systems – Josh Fleming. Backline – Gavin Downie and Rob Collins. Equipment relocation specialist – Al Cameron. Promoted by Brent Eccles Entertainment. Th’ Dudes managed by Lorraine Barry Management. Support act Racing.

Th’ Gear

The touring audio system was made up of Midas consoles, mic and monitors packages, IEM for Th’ Dudes and wedges for the support act. Lighting featured Clay Paky Sharpy Plus, Chauvet Maverick Mk2s, and in the Marshall heads some GLP X4s, all controlled by ONYX. 3mm LED screen both in the now famous custom Marshall cabs and a 10m x 2m strip. Racks and stacks, trussing and front light sourced locally.

Support band Racing

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