Friday 2nd March……\
We arrive at the Sandalford Vineyard just as the doors are opening in the hope of getting some Stevie Wonder tickets on the door although we really can’t believe that it is not sold out. The queue is already 400 metres long at gate three where we are told to go and gate two car park is already full so we snake towards the sales tent in low spirits.
We also seem underprepared. The folk in the queue around us have huge eskies, some on wheels, they carry folding seats and picnic blankets and warm clothes. I am in shorts and T shirt and we carry a plastic bag with two ham rolls and some fruit and a couple of bottles of water. We have been told we can’t take alcohol into the venue anyway.
We get to the ticket sales and YES there are tickets for the hill overlooking the stage. $140 dollars each but I bite off the hand of the saleswoman to buy them and we are in. We are frisked at the door and I am told I cannot take my camera in and so we will have no pictorial evidence of the show to blog. But that seems a small price to pay.
We make ourselves as comfortable as we can, sitting on a couple of plastic bags and settle down for a long wait. It is 6.30 and the great man is not due on until 8.30. All around us folk are eating their bijou picnics and supping their purchased Sandalford wines. We figure we have just had the best day of food and wine tasting and are quite happy chomping on our ham roll when one of the ushers comes over to us and asks if we are just the two of us and do we have no seats or rug to sit on. We concur and she signals us to follow her. We pass through the entrance into the seating area and she leads us to row B right in the middle of the stage. This is just behind the VIP enclosure and only 30 yards from Stevie’s Grand Piano! She gives us an arm band and the complimentary ticket. So you are free to come and go, she says. I ask her if she is an angel and whether we have died and gone to heaven or whether we are on Candid Camera but she just smiles and says, ‘Enjoy the show’ and disappears into the night.
Marilyn and I pinch each other several times over the next hour or so. Stevie is late coming on but when he plays he is magnificent. He has a slight cold but it somehow makes the quieter section of soulful love songs more poignant and I find myself with tears in my eyes I am so moved by his genius.
By the end of the night we are up with the rest of the crowd bopping and singing as he seems to warm to the Aussie audience and gets us all involved. His band, as always, are simply brilliant and he orchestrates them through his bass player. After several encores he eventually departs the stage leaving his band to accompany his disembodied voice that drifts over the fields of vines under a waxing moon and leaves us speechless.
It has been a perfect day and a wonderful end to this stay at Margaret River.