Guitar greats reunite for once-off gig

THE stage is set for the clash of the titans as guitar giant Jethro Butow joins local lad Donovan Hattingh and the “Not the Centrestage Band” for a one-night only performance of Born to be Wild at Old Grey tonight.

Butow will be flown in from Johannesburg by special invitation to celebrate the short holiday return stint of Hattingh, one of Port Elizabeth’s greatest musical sons. Supporting them are local stalwarts Francois Hugo and Deon and Kevin Mattheus, with Lani Botha on guest vocals.

Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest guitarists in South Africa, Butow has played on more local albums than can be found in the average South African household.

Lately he was the official guitarist for the Idols band, has played for the likes of Pavarotti and the Three Tenors, and performed in bands such as Kariba and Steve Linnegar’s Snakeshed, as well as for Lesley Rae Dowling, Little Sister and John Ireland.

Butow’s passion is ’60s and ’70s live rock, and judging by the thousands of young guitarists who still try to emulate him, he remains a role model.

It was Butow’s links to Port Elizabeth that made this union possible.

“I met Jethro when I was in the South African Navy band and he was a national serviceman in the navy. He was, at the tender age of 19, already starting to make waves nationally as an in-demand session and live guitar player,” Hugo said.

“I did various projects with him during that time and more recently, he toured with me for the launch of my Afrikaans blues/rock CD. Deon and Kevin were also involved in some musical projects with Jethro in Gauteng after he moved up to Johannesburg.

“Jethro was actually born in Port Elizabeth so he is another exponent of the awesome musical talent that this city has produced and still produces.”

His local counterpart, Hattingh, has achieved extraordinary things as a rock guitarist in the Eastern Cape in a very short space of time.

Hattingh started his career with Hugo as a rock duo before becoming the musical director for Centrestage and overseeing some of their biggest hit shows such as The Magnificent 7.

Along with long-time fellow performer and girlfriend Lani Botha, they have been performing as a duo in the United Arab Emirates over the last three years since leaving Port Elizabeth.

The song list promised for this evening includes such greats as Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild, Metallica’s Whiskey in the Jar and Enter Sandman, Bad Company’s Feel Like Making Love, Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath, Gary Moore’s Still Got the Blues, McCully’s Workshop’s The Buccaneer, Def Leppard’s Two Steps Behind, Alanah Miles’s Black Velvet and Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water.

Tickets for the two-and-a-half hour show, which starts at 7.30pm, can be purchased at R120 through Computicket.

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