Daniel Champagne's relentless 82-gig tour brings him home to South Coast

ONE OF THE GREATS: Master of the guitar Daniel Champagne is returning to the South Coast for a run of shows while on a massive tour. Picture: Eryca Green
ONE OF THE GREATS: Master of the guitar Daniel Champagne is returning to the South Coast for a run of shows while on a massive tour. Picture: Eryca Green

After dislocating his finger three times playing one of his songs, Daniel Champagne has decided to put it on the backburner.

He used to play Spoonful every night. And watching how ferociously he performs it, using every piece of his instrument to create the sound, you can certainly imagine him causing himself an injury.

"You kind of feel it," he laughed.

"But you can play the second half of the song with one or two fingers."

For a guitar virtuoso maybe, but that is exactly what Champagne is.

The Far South Coast prodigy is known for his relentless touring and is currently on a 82-gig schedule of shows that are taking place over four months through New Zealand and Australia, including stops in Bega, Nethercote, Tilba and Tomakin.

The tour even had a 13-day straight run of performing every night when he was in New Zealand in March.

"I've always been able to get in for lots of gigs, but on this tour there's even more spots," he said on Thursday, May 16, before his near sold-out shows in Braidwood and Canberra.

Daniel Champagne - Come As You Are [Nirvana Cover]

"It happened because I say yes to lots of different offers, then all of a sudden you look at it and it's 82 shows.

"I'd say this is the high water mark - I can't keep playing more and more gigs each year. Last year I did 293 and I won't play that again."

The travelling keeps him busy, but in his downtime he is still never far from a guitar.

"I'm somebody for who guitar playing is my profession and my hobby," the 29-year-old said.

"So when I'm not doing it for work, I'm doing it for fun.

"I do a lot of weird, experimental stuff just for myself."

His songwriting has been interrupted by all the travelling he has been doing, although he does find it easier to collect ideas while touring, just harder to finish songs.

"The more and more I just want to make music people can relate to and reflect back on themselves," he said.

Daniel Champagne - 'Supernova' [The Snap Shot Sessions]

"When you're younger you just want to be really good and think that's enough for people to love it and connect with it, but I think I want to make things that are really honest and really real, and people can see a bit of themselves in it."

For the past three years, he has opened with the same song every night - That's Why I Still Chase The Sky - as it gives him a gauge of how his guitar is working and if there is anything unexpected that could pop out which he would have to take care of during the show.

But aside from that, the set-list changes regularly.

"I'm planning situations a bit less than I used to," he said.

"I'll just turn up on the night and see who's there."

Whenever he comes back to his old stomping grounds of the Far South Coast, he does have to be cautious when it comes to one part of his performance.

"Every artist stretches the truth," Champagne laughed.

"There's stories I tell, but now they are totally different to the stories I told two years ago.

"On the South Coast it's different, because there's a lot of people who know where I come from.

Daniel Champagne

Daniel Champagne

"Often I talk a lot, but I'm not comfortable to do that in Bega so the show will probably be more music and less speaking!"

The final show for this tour will take place in Darwin, after which he has a well-earned 21 days off before the next gig in Canada.

He has not decided what will happen in his break or how he will celebrate, but that is how he wants it.

"An album is something I should be working on," Champagne said.

"Then there's another part of me that just wants to get on a flight to Bali."

Champagne is performing a run of shows across the South Coast, but tickets for some gigs are selling fast.

The gigs include:

  • Smokey Dan's, Tomakin on Wednesday, May 22 from 6pm;
  • The Lush Factory, Tilba on Thursday, May 23 from 7pm;
  • Mumbulla School Hall, Bega on Saturday, May 25 from 7pm; and
  • Nethercote Hall, Nethercote on Sunday, May 26 from 7pm.

"I think it's really cool that I'm able to come back to the coast and do a whole bunch of shows, not just one show, and people come out to support live music," Champagne said.

For more information on the tour and to buy tickets you can visit his website here.

This story Daniel Champagne's relentless 82-gig tour brings him home to South Coast first appeared on Bega District News.

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