Audience comes alive to the beats of a great rock era, writes Princess Nkabane. Pictures by Mark Andrews
I HAVE had the privilege to grow up with a father who loved rock music, particularly 80s music, so when I had the rare chance to watch the Centrestage’s Crazy 80s Strictly Partytime show on Wednesday night, all the good memories came flooding back.
From the moment the guitarists struck out the first chords to Roxette’s Dressed for Success, one couldn’t help but feel one had entered a time capsule and been taken back to the 1980s – the era famous for its outrageous crazy fashion, lively strong vocals and sing-out-loud old songs that helped shape music history.
It seemed the spirit of the 80s was alive in the air, as couples, singles, young and old took to the dance floor moving and shaking their bodies. It became clear that a few older audience members were reliving their teen s through the eccentric show.
If you have ever seen the movie School of Rock you will remember the highly energetic and passionate rock music teacher played by Jack Black, and then the super-fly guitarist and vocalist Wayne Kallis will remind you of him.
Fly kicks while strumming electrifying sounds from his guitar.
Dressed in orange tight fitting skinny jeans Kallis has all the makings of the rock and roll greats, plus a lot of charisma.
A highlight of the show was when one of the beautiful female lead vocalists Donna Africa took to the dance floor as Tina Turner, singing tracks like Simply the Best and Private Dancer getting the men in the audience excited, with sexy moves and legs to die for protruding from black lingerie.
And before the audience could catch their breath, Tara- Jane Metzler came out dressed as the rebellious 80s teen idol Cindy Lauper, singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Time After Time.
Though the show started on an energetic level, it was nothing compared to when the Mohawked Thuba Myeki took off his old man’s blue two-piece suit and came out with his super-tight purple skinny jeans jumping around receiving loud screams from the ladies as his six-pack kept showing.
As more people took to the dance floor there was hardly space left to move.
The Crazy 80s show is made up of a 10-piece Centrestage band which prides itself in recreating the huge 80’s sound with the same kind of authenticity and sheer energetic entertainment which was so apparent in their previous Magnificent 7 outings. According to Kallis it took the band a whole month of rehearsals to put the show together, thanks to the talented group members.
The whole show features special “guest appearances” by the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Boy George, Tina Turner, Bob Marley and Bon Jovi to name a few of the colourful icons.
All the top favourite Centrestage performers are featured in the line-up, such as the inimitable drummer Gino Fabbri, talented charismatic frontman Andre Strydom, known for his performances upfront as Neil Diamond and The Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb, is on bass, whilst the scintillating talents of Sherid van Rooyen headed up the guitar department.
Keyboardist extraordinaire Debbie Quick joins veteran Khanya Matomela on the ivories and specialised 80s synch sounds, while the Eastern Cape’s Shawn Lyons plays a range of instruments and effects from trumpet to sax and trombone through special vocalisers to help recreate the huge 80s sound with trademark Centrestage authenticity.
The guests got more than they bargained for when a mouthwatering buffet was rolled out for them. Starting at 8pm, the show runs for close to two hours, with a cuisine-filled interval in-between.
Though the show started on Wednesday night, the Crazy 80s will be performing at The Venue in Hemingsway until tomorrow. Tickets cost R250. Block bookings can be purchased by calling 082-661- 6921. For bookings of fewer than 10, call Computicket. Music lovers will love the show as the singers are highly interactive with the audience from sitting on laps, in the spirit of good fun of course, to dancing along with them. — firstname.lastname@example.org