Get ready to party with Smokie at the Boardwalk

THE last time Smokie's anchorman Terry Uttley was in Nelson Mandela Bay, he trotted on stage with stitches in his head – so he'll be very careful in the shower this time around.

The British pop band is set to rock the Boardwalk on Sunday on their Take a Minute world tour – and then the group will even be able to enjoy the city for a couple of days while they take a breather.

They will perform five shows in South Africa and one in Windhoek, Namibia.

According to Uttley, founder and original member of the band, chart-topping hits like Living Next Door to Alice, Lay Back in the Arms of Someone, Oh Carol, Needles and Pins and Have You Ever Seen the Rain are some of the hits the band will perform at the shows.

These are the numbers that make Smokie one of the most enduring bands with a global following since the 1970s.

"It has always been a wonderful experience to come to South Africa. We love it here and the support we get here is amazing," he said.

Uttley remembers the last time he performed in the Bay very well.

"I slipped in the shower and I had to go on stage with stitches in my head. "I cannot forget that night in PE – I had a good time though. I have been with the band for about 40 years and what keeps me and the group going is my enthusiasm and love for music,"

Along the way some original members of the group pulled out – Chris Norman went off to pursue a solo career and Alan Silson found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with being on the road touring around. Eventually, he made the difficult decision to stop.

Uttley says he loves being in a band and has never considered going solo.

"When people pull out from a band to pursue a solo career it usually does not work out for them and later they regret it. I love being in a band – it is like my second wife, we cannot be parted."

Lefra Productions CEO and promoter of the SA tour, Frans Swart, said he was excited about Smokie coming to South Africa again, with the shows being a sold-out success.

"People can expect to have a lot of fun because Smokie spells party. If you go to a Smokie show, you will have fun."

Swart said the band had a hectic programme and would only have free time after their show in PE tomorrow.

Uttley said they would use their two days of relaxation time to look around Port Elizabeth.

Their world tour is also taking them to Germany and Tasmania after South Africa.

The new Take a Minute double CD and bonus DVD box set will be released in South Africa by Next Music and Lefra Productions. It is also available at the shows.

Tickets are available at Computicket. They range from R120 to R595.