American Anthems

Director: Ross Mills

Cast: Ged Graham, Andy Wood, Rob Castel, Rebecca Kelly, Tiffany Low, Robyn Ford, Abbie Porter, Helen Stainsby, Stephanie Hyde, Liam Holmes, Adam Evans, Barrie Cooper, Nathan O’ Borne, Mike Flynn

Venue: The Mandela Theatre, Joburg Theatre

Until: March 11

Rating: ****

It’s funny how in American Anthems there is a quip about “tribute bands” – when this show itself can be seen as a tribute act.

We get an influx of tribute shows yearly and while they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there a market for them. Some have stood out more than others and American Anthems definitely shines. The musicianship here is tops, period.

This is a spectacular rock musical that celebrates and captures iconic American music of the early 1990s and earlier. The narrative follows the fictional tale of the search for rock star, Rocky Rhodes, who vanished at the height of his fame. Leading the search is Route 66 FM, helping to track the rock legend across America to bring him back for one last concert. This provides the space for some drama in between the songs.

The music features hit-makers including Bon Jovi, The Eagles, Elvis Presley, Brian Adams and Michael Bolton, to name a few, with favourites hits such as Hotel California, Walking in Memphis, Say A little Prayer, Alone, Don’t Want To Miss A Thing and more.

There are five lead singers here and they have their own signa- tures, but they’re all powerhouse voices. They all boast amazing ranges and know how to work with their vocals.

Blood-red-headed Rebecca Kelly is a ball of fire when she sings Rolling On The River, made famous by Tina Turner. And the blonde Tiffany Low creeps up on you with her high notes, singing Say A Little Prayer, made famous by Aretha Franklin.

The band delivers the music immaculately and the guitarists had the audience in their grasp.

The dancers fit in well , providing eye candy with their choreography and fun costume changes.

This is a well-put-together show, although the song list could be cut a little.

It’s a quality rock concert experience for the whole family – for the older generation that grew up with the music and their children who might have heard modern renditions on popular TV shows like Glee and The X Factor.