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Saturday, November 10, 2012


Memorable tribute show from the Rob Warren Band at Rhumbelow. (Review by Keith Millar)

Johnny Cash is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. In a career spanning six decades Cash produced numerous hits which included signature songs such as Folsom Prison Blues, Man In Black, Ring Of Fire, I Walk The Line, Cry Cry Cry, A Boy Named Sue and duets with his wife June Carter like Jackson, It Ain’t Me Babe and Juke Box Blues.

With material such as this to work with, Rob Warren and his band were well on the way to producing a memorable tribute show - and produce they did, as the packed audience at the Rhumbelow Theatre last night were treated to a rocking, foot stomping party of note in celebration of an American music legend.

Tribute shows are very popular in Durban but this one is a little different from the usual offering. There is no attempt to impersonate Johnny Cash and the chatter is kept to the minimum.

It is simply a nonstop, highly stylish and very skilled interpretation of some of the best country rock music ever produced.

Rob Warren, dressed all in black, and with an impish charm, belts out Cash’s hits with aplomb, and shows considerable expertise on the guitar. He is expertly backed by his brother Garth on bass, and backup vocals, and Gareth Gale on drums. The high spirited and vivacious Clare McIlroy plays the part of Cash’s wife June Carter, who in her own right was a world class singer/song writer. Clare was in fine voice and added considerable energy and glamour to the production.

Although never serving time in prison himself, despite several brushes with the law over his involvement with drugs, Johnny Cash felt great compassion for prisoners and was a strong advocate for prison reform. He performed many free concerts at state prisons in the USA. So to set the scene for this production, the Rhumbelow Theatre has been transformed into the Folsom Prison Mess Hall. This added to the fun as the inmates (audience) clapped along, sang along and danced in the aisles during this not-to-be-missed show.

Performances of the Johnny Cash Tribute Show take place from November 9 to 18 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 20h00 and on Sundays at 18h30. The venue opens 90 minutes before show for picnic dinner. Tickets R100 (less 25% pensioners and tables of eight or more for the first weekend only) Take along food picnic baskets and braais will be available. There is limited secure parking and booking is essential. A cash bar is available (no alcohol may be brought on to the premises). Rhumbelow Theatre is situated in Cunningham Avenue off Bartle Road.

Booking is through Computicket or contact Roland on 031 205 7602 (h) or 082 499 8636, email or visit – Keith Millar