Johannesburg - Johnny Clegg’s Final Journey is to get another show in Joburg - on November 11 at the TicketPro Dome - due to unprecedented public demand.
The iconic singer has been overwhelmed by the public reaction to his decision to bid his fans farewell while he is in remission from pancreatic cancer.
This is the third time he’s added another tour date in Joburg.
This time the show has been specifically pitched to accommodate those who couldn’t afford the far pricier Montecasino leg of the tour.
“Fans were coming up to me, and saying ‘eish, bhuti, we want to see you sing but jho those ticket prices!’” Clegg explains. It was a certain part of Joburg that was coming through to Monte. We had to put on the same show, with the same quality and intensity but at a lower price.”
The Dome concert will be the biggest concert yet.
Billed as Johnny Clegg and Friends; Prime Circle, the Parlotones, Karen Zoid and DJ Kent are just some of the musicians who have signed up to join him on stage and perform with him.
He hopes to take the Final Journey to the Jabulani amphitheatre in Soweto too and then finally to Wits University - where he had his first ever concert with Sipho Mchunu as a Grade 11 pupil 40 years ago.
“I’m a Joburg boy; this has been my home town since the age of seven,” he said this week, “these are my people and this has been the course of my life.”
Clegg set up the Final Journey earlier this year in a series of legs, local and international, with far less intensity than his normal punishing touring cycle.
Thus far, he has done Cape Town, Joburg, Durban, the UAE and the UK.
Next week he’s off to Dubai and then in October, the US and Canada, with gigs provisionally planned for Australia and New Zealand next year, with France, Germany and possibly Scandinavia later on.
When he comes back from the US he will take the Final Journey first to the Dome and then to Kirstenbosch in Cape Town with two gigs set up for Port Elizabeth at the end of January.
“I’ve been living in a parallel universe,” he says, “the doctors have kind of given me until January in terms of the chemotherapy, after which we are in no-man’s land medically, with radiation next if necessary. I’m fit at the moment but the oncologist says you have to entertain the fact that might be an illusion. When I’m on stage I feel like I could do this forever. It’s weird,” he says, “it’s very disheartening.”
It is also incredibly emotional each time he goes on stage as he knows the fans are there to say goodbye.
He choked up when he opened the Final Journey in Cape Town and 4000 fans stood up as one to give him a standing ovation as he came onto the stage.
“I couldn’t sing,” he says.
His battle with cancer has taught him not to take anything for granted. Every single concert is special. This thing has enabled me to appreciate what I have had over the last 40 years. Because I have this sentence on me, I realise how lucky I am, my two sons, my wife gifts of hidden things that you never acknowledge.”
The new show will be longer, he says with an impish smile, a boon for fans who have already become spoilt by his marathon Final Journey efforts thus far, more than double the length of a traditional concert. And, there’s a new album; King of Time, being mastered in US at the moment and scheduled to go into production next Friday with brand new work, including collaborations with his son Jesse and Black Coffee, which will probably be released by mid-October.
* Ticket sales for the Dome will be pitched between R250 and R775 and go on sale on Monday.