Sim­phiwe Dana’s ROWDY CHURCH

CityPress - - News - CHARL BLIGNAUT charl.blignaut@city­

As 8 o’clock struck and I set­tled into my seat at The Lyric theatre at Gold Reef City last Fri­day night, burn­ing with an­tic­i­pa­tion for soul star Sim­phiwe Dana’s an­nual con­cert to get started, the wo­man next to me took a phone call. “Oh right,” she said over the line to friends. “You’re leav­ing Midrand now. Great ... See you soon.”

My eyes widened and con­tin­ued to stay wide un­til all the guests had ar­rived. This was at about 9.30pm. And they did so loudly, laugh­ing and talk­ing, tak­ing pho­tos us­ing their flashes, row­dily dis­rupt­ing the be­sot­ted fans stand­ing up front film­ing the en­tire con­cert on their phones.

Sim­phiwe Dana has “fans”, peo­ple. The Kaya FM and Bassline crowd didn’t care it was a theatre. They treated it like a noisy bar. Dana is a big­ger per­son than me be­cause she loved it. She com­pares the event to per­form­ing in church and the spirit took the crowd, who spent a big part of the con­cert on their feet.

It was a whole new Dana up on stage with her ex­quis­ite and jazzy band. She held us in thrall for hours, open­ing with the prayer-like Thina Sizwe, her voice on an­other level and her look re­vamped. Dana has been hav­ing beauty treat­ment and her David Tlale frock was as stylish as it was re­veal­ing. We got served up all the great­est hits to start with. Zan­dis­ile brought the house down and Mayine had au­di­ence mem­bers in tears. The sec­ond half saw her chan­nel the spir­its of marabi, reach­ing a pow­er­ful high note with her ver­sion of Mead­ow­lands. Smil­ing with joy, she al­lowed fans on to stage to per­form tra­di­tional dances be­fore mov­ing into sear­ing Pan-African themes and a grand fi­nale.

“That’s it, your money’s up,” she said three hours later, ex­hausted and hav­ing given it her all – as the last late ar­rivals trick­led in.

SPIRIT LYRICS Sim­phiwe Dana’s pow­er­ful per­for­mance at The Lyric theatre chan­nelled soul­ful jazz and marabi groove, and left her au­di­ence in tears WHISKEY

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