Why The Manhattans love SA fans

2015-01-04 15:00

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Motown legends The Manhattans can’t wait to return to South Africa next week because local fans “always welcome” them “with open arms”. This was according to lead singer Gerald Alston who, along with bandmates Troy May, Edward

Fields and David Tyson will play one concert only on January 10 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

In a telephonic interview with City Press from New Jersey in the US, Alston said the band considers South Africa a second home, despite The Manhattans last performing here back in 2008.

“Every time we perform in SA, our fans welcome us with warm hands and they give us so much energy. They are always excited to see us.

“South African fans are true fans. They know us and our music well,” said Alston, who has been with the group for more than 40 years.

The band celebrated 53 years in the music industry in August.

Asked what keeps them relevant, Alston replied: “We sing songs that people can relate to. Our songs are just as good as 30 years ago.

“When we write songs, it’s not just about the hook. We tell stories through our lyrics.”

Sadly, there’s someone missing on this visit. Tyson replaces one of the band’s founding members, bass vocalist Winfred “Blue” Lovett, who died last month after a long illness.

“We were saddened by Blue’s passing,” Alston said. “We’ll miss his voice and presence on stage. Before he passed on, he left us with these words: ‘You know what to do. Keep on going.’

“We’ll continue to perform to make him smile in heaven and, at some point, we are going to go back and record in studio.”

South African fans can look forward to favourites like Kiss and Say Goodbye and Shining Star, but Alston says there’ll be some surprises in the mix too.

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