Joe Cocker at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Posted: January 26, 2009 in Theatre & Event Reviews and Interviews

The Event

South Africans brave foul weather for soul legend.

Sheets of persistent rain could not keep Joe Cocker fans from the Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens in Cape Town on 26th February. Cloaked crowds huddled under brollies and black bags, nibbled at their soggy sandwiches and sat patiently on the drenched grass waiting for the icon to appear.  There was a dramatic pause as the rain stopped and then, more than 5000voices roared as the soul singer hit the stage.  As if orchestrated, the clouds burst open and rain poured through the powerful strobe lights and onto the moonfaced spectators below.

Not since 1994 has South African fans had the opportunity to see this musical giant perform on home soil.  ‘Joe Cocker has always wanted to return to South Africa after his previous successful tour.’ says Gwenn Ironsi from Big Concerts.  The event organisers must have had a premonition.  The notice on the entrance to the concert read that reimbursements due to rain will not be made.  Perhaps that’s why the slightly older crowd patiently resigned themselves to the capricious weather. 

Joe Cocker’s performance did not disappoint.  He energetically belted out the hits in his gritty and powerful voice.  By the time he sexily crooned, You can leave your hat on, the drenched audience was on their feet, gyrating like extras on the set of 9 ½ weeks –  the movie that turned the song into a legend. The old Woodstock favourite, With a little help from my friends, sent the crowd into a frenzy of cell phone recordings.  Remarkably Cocker’s voice survived hedonistic excesses and a breakdown in the mid seventies.  Often the singer was so under the weather that he could not remember his lyrics or stand up on stage.  For Cocker, adversary brought to the fore his raw talent, and he recorded the heart wrenching hit, You are so beautiful, at the peak of his breakdown.    In the early 80’s Cocker kicked his habit and rediscovered his natural talent. Today he frequently tours across the globe.  After his show in Cape Town, Cocker moved on to rock the crowds in Durban and the East Rand.

 

 

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