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Rocking out with some terrific tributes

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TO NDR Rocking2

TOP PERFORMERS: Krystle T, centre, and her band, including (from left) Chillie Stent, Dale Wardell, Sebastian Gilchrist and Shermin Bhugalu are a must-see in their show Rocking the Greatest Hits this weekend. Picture: Roland Stansell

Rocking the greatest hits

CREATOR/DIRECTOR: Krystle T

CAST: Krystle T, Chillie Stent, Reanne Leigh, Dale Wardell, Sebastian Gilchrist, Shermin Bhugalu

VENUE: The Rhumbelow Theatre

UNTIL: May 19

RATING: *****

IF you’re going to do a greatest rock/pop-rock hits tribute show, you need to nail three things.

First, you need to have a broad and varied selection of hits; second, you need to have a lead vocalist who can pull these hits off; and third, you need to have a band that can perform the music – because with this kind of music the band is as much important as your lead vocalist.

Durban entertainer Krystle T’s Rocking the Greatest Hits cover show – now running at the Rhumbelow Theatre – gets a tick on all of these points.

From the get-go Krystle made it clear that her show was all about the music and paying tribute to some of the best hits in the world. You don’t expect to see a glitzy stage set-up or dazzling costumes. No, this show is purely about the music and it’s pulled off in honest rocking style.

Let’s talk about the selection of songs. Joe Dolan, Tina Turner, Bon Jovi, Queen, Elvis, P!nk, The Corrs, The Cranberries, Adele, Tom Jones, Don McLean and more.

An excellent, broad selection of rock and pop-rock hits through the years, this playlist went down well with the audience on opening night on Friday, with many of the songs starting off to a roaring cheer from people (an obvious sign that they appreciated the selection).

Many – no, most – of these songs are no easy feat to pull off; but Krystle T does so with aplomb for every song.

Bon Jovi’s It’s My Life, Tina Turner’s Simply the Best and Proud Mary, Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, The Corrs’ Leave Me Breathless, Adele’s Someone Like You, The Cranberries’ Zombie… on all these hits and more, Krystle T not only nails it in terms of actually pulling these songs off, but she owns each number.

She doesn’t attempt to sound like any of the great artists, and with an amazing vocal capability, she doesn’t need to.

The music is kept original, her sound is her own and she works it well, delivering an original and highly enjoyable sound.

But Krystle cannot be complimented without mentioning her band, because in a show like this the two are the lead acts.

With Chillie Stent (guitar, backing vocals), Reanne Leigh (sax, piano, backing vocals), Dale Wardell (drums), Sebastian Gilchrist (base) and Shermin Bhugalu (piano) what you get is a cracking band who are a great compliment to this kind of show.

Stent is extremely talented on guitar; from rocking a song like Meatloaf’s Anything for Love to a more toned-down sound like P!nk’s Dear Mr President, she proves herself a versatile guitarist and backing vocalist.

Leigh on sax, piano and backing vocals deserves kudos for her performance. Wardell was a great choice on drums, Gilchrist on bass was also excellent, particularly for songs that afforded him the chance to be appreciated.

And that’s another great aspect of this show, the selection of tunes allows you to hear and appreciate each of the band member’s talents.

Krystle and the band also have great rapport with one another and the audience. With many jokes cracked in-between sets, it really makes for an easy-going evening of great music in a relaxed environment. And this is probably because they don’t come across as performing hit songs, but a band who are really out to have great time on stage and just rock out.

Ending a great first half on a high note, Krystle T and the band performed the best live cover performance I’ve seen of Zombie, also setting the tone for a rocking second half.

Taking notes on some of my favourite performances of the night, by the end of the show I found I’d almost noted the entire playlist – that is how good this show is.

That said, some of my favourite renditions included Bed of Roses (Bon Jovi), Rumour Has It (Adele), Proud Mary (Tina Turner), and amazing throwback medley including hits like American Pie, Blue Suede Shoes, Green Door and Delilah.

The second half ends with a bang with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. This performance drew a thunderous encore on Friday with the band then performing I Love Rock and Roll, which of course led to another encore – but I think if the band had honoured that call, we’d probably have been at The Rhumbelow all night.

Rocking the Greatest Hits closes this weekend running Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 6.30pm.

Tickets are R100 at Computicket, or call Roland at 031 205 7602.

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