Excellent tribute to Clapton & others

Rusty Red, who performs alongside singer-bassist Skippy Kubheka and drummer Chris Melling at the Rhumbelow Theatre in the Allan Wilson shellhole, Pietermaritzburg, at 2pm and 6.30pm this Sunday (May 28).

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STAGE: Crossroads: Eric Clapton and Friends – Rhumbelow Theatre, Umbilo, Durban
REVIEW BY BILLY SUTER
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TWO versatile and popular Durban groups, The Reals and The Black Lapels, dominate the KwaZulu-Natal supper theatre scene with their regular, stellar showband tributes. Now, after just one show together, the Rusty Red trio have proved they can give them a run for their money.

Red-maned lead guitarist and lead vocalist Rusty Red (real name Luke Wyngaard), together with drummer Chris Melling and bassist-singer Skippy Kubheka, first performed this excellent tribute to Eric Clapton and friends at Tina’s Hotel in Kloof some weeks ago. That drew a well-deserved, rapturous response from an enthusiastic audience and I, for one, will be seeing it again.

The show is being staged at the Rhumbelow Theatre in the Allan Wilson shellhole, Pietermaritzburg, at 2pm and 6.30pm this Sunday (May 28), then in Durban, at the Rhumbelow’s Umbilo branch in Cunningham Road, off Bartle Road, from August 4 to 6.

This is a tight, talented, confident team with a well-devised show, offering a captivating performance that salutes both Clapton, musicians who influenced him and those performers who, in turn, were inspired by the great, now 72-year-old, English rock-blues guitarist.

Rusty – a standout guest guitarist in The Black Lapels’s Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute show – had toyed with the idea of presenting a blues show for three years.

An amiable performer with an easy manner, he says with a smile, in a throwaway line during a long, impressive intro to the classic I Shot the Sheriff: “If you don’t like guitar solos, you’re in the wrong show!”.

The only three-time inductee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and Cream – Clapton has a wide repertoire to draw on, and Rusty and his team have selected well.

Keeping patter to a minimum, the trio offers some interesting arrangements and a fine spread of material associated with the man ranked second only to Jimi Hendrix in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

The team opens with a bang – a terrific medley of Cocaine and Sunshine of Your Love, with a blast of Layla – and keeps the mood happy by following with Lay Down Sally. They go on to nod to John Mayer with Slow Dancing in a Burning Room and present a good delivery of Wonderful Tonight.

The toe-tapping Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself) closes the first half of a show that opens after interval with Change the World. Also here are such hits as Steve Ray Vaughn’s Pride and Joy and a standout Muddy Waters medley including I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, Elevate Me Mama (Skippy on vocals) and Got My Mojo Working.

Of note, too, in the second half, are Tears in Heaven, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, a great delivery of Wait Until Tomorrow (a number covered by both Hendrix and Mayer) and an interesting mash of Layla that nods to both the Clapton and Derek and The Dominoes versions.

Don’t miss this one! Tickets cost R150 each and booking is at Computicket or by calling Roland at  0824 998 636.


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