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In Durban by Owen Coetzer

In Durban by Owen Coetzer

(Courtesy of MUSIC MAKER, 3 August 1979, Vol 1 No 15)
...read more about Roger Lucey >>
...find more photos in the Hidden Years Archives >>

(L-R) Steve Fataar, Roger Lucey and Larry Amos - 1978 Durban

From even the warmest and staunchest of hearts must come the occasional growl of snarling dissatisfaction Roger Lucey catches one from the guts and Steve Fatar fans the flames to spread the word to Grosvenor Court across from the Durban Amphitheatre.
It could have been a beano. It could have blasted the across-the-road residents of Grosvenor Court (velly swish, velly sophisticated, you know out of existence. It could have been a winner. But, thanks to an unidentified poker into other peoples' business who claimed to be chairman of the Snell Parade Ratepayers Association and who threatened to close the show within half an hour if It went on. It Just about fizzled out beneath the brilliant red of the Maharani's Raffle elevator.
Point of dispute were the massive speakers, already set up on the amphitheatre stage facing Grosvenor Court, the Elangeni Hotel and the Maharani. The speakers said officialdom, had to face the sea not Grosvenor Court. If the concert went on with the speaker' the way they were, it would be closed within half an hour. Summarily.
Ridiculous. The stage faces away from the sea. What to do? Face the speakers towards the see and out of the stage and distort the sound to hell?

Now, thousands of rand have recently been spent on the amphitheatre, nestling among bougainvillea and other suchlike gems, to bring it up to modern day standards (it was built around 1890 for military bands, crinoline dresses and men In military uniforms back from the Boer War front, or off to the wars in Zoolooland). And, according to the director of parks and gardens, Mr. "Thorns" Lindley, it must be used.
So, he was phoned. Ridiculous. Preposterous, he shouted. Use the amphitheatre with the speakers and all. In fact, an extra R50 had been paid by the organiser, ex-Flame Steve Fataar for the exclusive use of the stage, plus newly installed lighting et al.

With seven people standing by, what to do? On the one hand, the threat of police action; on the other the direct go ahead from the cat whose property, so to speak, it is.
Fataar decided otherwise. They'd move the speakers and amps to the opposite side of the stage situation and play with the speakers facing the sea. Steve, you understand has hassles before.
And perhaps sort it out in the morning, or next week. So, the roadies and others hefted the speakers across the auditorium, open to the skies, and set up. No lighting, except a few 60-watt bulbs.
Some cat had some strobes at home Exit. Fast. Two minutes later, he was back plugging them in like they were the lights of Broad-way.
Roger and Sue shrugged. What could they do? What could anyone do? They'd lived through this sort of hassle before too.

A vague audience strolled up, handfuls dotted here and there on the bare concrete. Ready to go - up came a resident punk group, Dead Babies, scratching for melodies in among the chords we've all heard before from rock bands since The Who began to strum 10 years ago. A few enthusiasts attempted a pogo, while the volume went up and the sound reverberated around and around the inner section of the amphitheatre.

Ragged cheers every now and again.

Despite calls for the audience who were leaning up against the top banisters catching the action for free rather than pay and come down, the show went on.

Fataar and band, mean; music men at the best of times, got things going somewhat, judging by the amount of people at the windows of Grosvenor Court. Wow, could they hear! Although there wasn't much for them to see, it being night and all that.

Steve has always had a good band and his fingers have always hit the right notes in crescendos of ascending and descending riffs.

Up stepped Lucey - the old Roger of Natal Folk Music Association days. But, zap! What a change. What has happened to the bad man of South African music? Birdcage Lucey-the tyro who sent a birdcage from the first-floor balcony of the University of Natal to the stage to accompany one of his magnificent songs was incredible.

I've lived through Roger for six years. But never have I heard a more mellowed singer, a more positive action than this. The early Roger had power, perhaps somewhat unmodified, but sufficient to call in the cows from Uttar Bakor. The new Roger is firmly in control, superbly aware of his music and musicianship and - like Buckingham and Nicks - actually conscious of his wife and singing partner's needs and voice.

Sue, with deftly controlled Voice is magnificent, complementing the deep Lucey voice, and exhorting it to more.

I would give anything to hear them in controlled circumstances and far better conditions. There is much in the future for them as a duo, with Roger's superb songs.

They're only starting. But we'll be hearing more about them in future.
So there it was: Grosvenor C6urt buffeted under a minimal blasting, and all. I don't suppose the chairman of the Snell Parade Ratepayers Association has ever heard of Manfred Mann.
One supposes he will give the same opposition to the country music festival due to start soon.

Wonder what he'd feel about Shostakovitch?

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