Live Shows From Way Back – The Chills

March 21, 2024
1 min read

GARY STEEL revisits his short review of a Chills gig in a pub one dark night in Wellington back in 1984.

The Chills, Tim Woon, Clyde Quay, Sunday 22 July 1984.

Tonight’s celebration marked the reopening of the Clyde as ‘The Pulse of Wellington’. Twelve dollars bought lucky guests a first look at the new set-up, plus Dunedin’s near-legendary Chills and Wellington’s own prize-winning magician/conjurer, Tim Woon. And damn near all the beer you could guzzle in three hours.

The combination of music and magic was better than expected. The Chills’ first set failed to ignite the laid-back audience. The band seemed nervous and suffered broken strings’n’things. The remarkable Mr Woon’s act created a fair level of excitement. Just where did all those smoking pipes come from? And was his suitcase so fiery inside? And was his dove drugged? The tricks were old but Woon’s vain, spectacular treatment amazed one and all.

The Chills had no problems this time. Everyone danced; even the Angora-jersey-and-flares brigade. And The Chills made some stunning noises. Real songs are the baselines and any quirky subtleties buried beneath the electric volume tonight were compensated for by the sheer joy of expression this group attained when at their performance peak.

They even played ‘Pink Frost’, and told the crowd they could buy the single, as if it was expendable.

If ‘The Pulse of Wellington’ continues to offer variety and pub gigs which angle away from trad pub turnoff pressure points… well, who knows? It can’t be bad.



Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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