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Honkey Cats - Elton John Tribute ft. Ian Von Memerty

Centrestage’s ‘Honky Cats – A Tribute to Elton John’ at The Boardwalk Amphitheatre
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Port Elizabeth’s best known piano playing entertainment celebrity, Ian Von Memerty, joins forces with Centrestage to front the Eastern Cape’s most popular band to present a rollicking tribute to Elton John entitled ‘Honky Cats’.

This is the first time that Centrestage has focused on the flamboyant showman extraordinaire and also represents the first time that Von Memerty has fronted a music tribute review, making this unique collaboration a rather unique affair.

Honky Cats – A Tribute to Elton John, will open a three night run at The Boardwalk Amphitheatre in Port Elizabeth from 21 – 23 April 2016.

“Elton John is one of the greatest singer / songwriters of the last half century to tackle his music is a challenge and delight. I saw him live at his peak in 1982 in Sun City and I remember thinking what a SUPERB singer he was live!”, says Von Memerty.

“I can’t wait to start working with a big live band – I know some of these musicians already – and we are going to ROCK this!”

“My shows are normally about exploration, I have never done a straight forward tribute – so it is new ground for me – and I am going to have to make sure that my pianistic chops are on the braai! Thankfully I have the costumes already!”

“I first worked with Gary Hemmings 19 years ago when he was just starting out – and he has now built Centrestage into one of the premium entertainment brands in the EC. So it is a natural extension for us to be working together on a project that we are both really excited about.”

“Ever since the early days of Centrestage where Ian performed his witty, interactive cabaret shows at the Port Elizabeth club, I have been a long-standing Ian Von Memerty groupie, in awe of his theatrical showmanship, likeability, the sheer entertainment whirlwind which blows into town every time he is involved in a show, and of Ian’s incredible piano playing” says Hemmings.

“I have wanted to cover Elton John for the longest time, as he is one of my own personal favourite artists”, he continued, “but it would really take a very special musician and performer to be able to emulate the larger than life Elton John energy”.

“Knowing that Ian is an A-list SA celebrity and TV star in his own right, I took the longest of gambles when approaching him with this idea, thinking that it would take an immense amount of coaxing to convince him.”

Ian is known as the most versatile performer in South Africa. Winner of 15 national awards as a performer, creator and director he is best known as the host of Strictly Come Dancing and the “Fantastic’ Judge on SA’s Got Talent”.

But it is his two piano show “A Handful of Keys” which has played to more than 420 000 people, in over 1400 performances that has become part of South African Entertainment History.

“Imagine my surprise and delight when Ian not only agreed enthusiastically, but immediately opened up his extremely busy diary to commit to dates!” said Hemmings.

Ian was quick to point out “I am not an impersonator – So this is not an Elton John sing-a-like. Elton sounds like he sings low – but he actually sings high ; I sound like I sing high but I actually singer lower – so we are going to do some adaption so that I can really give the songs their full worth”.

The Centrestage band which will back Von Memerty consists of Gino Fabbri on drums, Andrew Warneke on bass, Fenlin Pitie on keyboards, Wayne Kallis on acoustic guitar and Andrea Morris on vocals and sax.

The show also introduces a new guitarist to the Centrestage lineup, that of Sandy Robbie, who has an impressive guitar pedigree which includes having played guitar for Clout and Little Sister.

In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1.

For South Africa’s “Capt Entertainment” to tackle the most entertaining of the great piano men Elton John – seems to be a natural fit.

“Honky Tonky Cats – both!”
Tickets costing R160 per person can be booked at Computicket - Click Here or by calling Wendy on 082 661 6921.

Elton John Tribute Centreatage

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