Come Together: Joe Cocker Live

2008-02-28 05:55
Joe Cocker! From a lot of young South Africans the answer to that name is "What?" All they heard was part of his last name. If you're a little older you'll go "Ja, leave your hat on" or "Isn’t that the guy who covers Beatles songs?" Joe’s unique in a couple of ways: he's the only living musician who both surprises people by still living, and also by sounding less raspy than he did when he was still shaggable. Barely.

Watch Joe in action in the live video
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Back to the crowd... did I mention it's raining? So the soul fans, and the rock fans, are here, and even the people who are coming to see him because he's from overseas and they were planning to hire babysitters, and maybe picnic in a scenic spot are all here. Actually some of them aren't. Some are leaving. Perhaps because of the rain. "Dad," says a pretty blonde dark-eyed teenager, trying to catch up with a grumpy 50ish guy on the slippery grass, "I feel bad about leaving Mom here."

A group of five are going with the flow though. "Whose idea was this? Yours? Riiight..." Ha ha ha, say the others. "Well, I was going to wear my speedo" tunes a comfortably aging ou carrying picnic gear. "Then how would I concentrate?" flirts his mature blonde date sweetly.

The concert area is as packed as a can of chunk tuna in brine. But the smell of wet forest and the darkness feels intoxicating in a good way. Everyone's got wine. And they're doing their best with the picnic. Think cheese and wet crackers - and no, I'm not making racial comments about the crowd.

And bang on time, the show begins. For a musician who doesn't write his own songs, and doesn't do much in the line of chit chat between numbers, Joe puts on a good act, pumping ‘em out with a hot session band that includes two scantily clad backup singers. Rainbows in the stage lights flood the crowd, and somehow this is better with the rain. Without it, there’d just be a field full of middle class people at a smugly-planned picnic.

But most people are still stubborning sitting down on their wet blankets and munching, until the musical highlight – the Beatles' witchy "Come Together" done as a stadium song – stirs them slightly.

Joe finally introduces his band and does "Glad to be Back", then launches into Randy Newman's nugget "Leave Your Hat On". Wearing much more than their damp hats everyone rises, and stays standing for a predictably quirkless version of "A Little Help From My Friends". They’re buying the whole overblown spectacle. Behind me, someone shouts: "God, I'm feeling every word!" and their friend replies "Ja god I'm so stoked! This guy's still got his chops!" and then someone shouts out "Albert Frost!" Random!

People with coolerboxes begin to shuffle out after the first fake finale. But most of the crowd risk the traffic for the encores, rocking with arms in the air and souls bared in the rain for the most famous covers pub band in the world.

- Jean Barker

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Crawling out of every kind of car - from 4x4s that cost twice the price of a whole house on the Cape Flats to cars from the Cape Flats that cost less than the 4x4-drivers' kids' quad bikes - come the fans, some complaining, some going with it. It's raining. It's nearly completely dark, and pretty wet. Who are all these people here to see? publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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