Band of Hobbits

After finishing The Song of the Lonely Mountain, Neil was asked to perform a 30 minute set on the red carpet at the Wellington Premiere of The Hobbit. He assembled quite an hirsute bunch – facial hair being a pre-requisite for NZ male musicians – which included members of superlative Wellington band The Phoenix Foundation, Conan Mockasin (they are indeed his own ears) and Elroy & Liam Finn. Fine musicians and gentlemen all. I was the odd one out of course, being a girl and having the shortest hair (yes, that’s me on the left!). We performed the song – along with classic Split Enz and Crowded House songs – in front of a live audience of about 100,000 people gathered in the centre of Wellington. The day was spectacular. The atmosphere was crackling with excitement. About half the audience was dressed as Gandalf – and I did have to ask myself, how do 50,000 people find Gandalf costumes in a city with a population of only 400,000?

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