Rocking hard in Sandton

2013-11-20 16:25

Lesley Mofokeng gets an exclusive peek at the soon-to-be opened Hard Rock Cafe on Nelson Mandela Square

Joburg’s best-kept secret is out. The world-famous Hard Rock Cafe franchise opens its doors on the Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton next week.

In an exclusive tour of the establishment, which blends music, entertainment and fuss-free food with a state-of-the-art location, several epoch-making music memorabilia such as costumes, music instruments, and posters were revealed to a select crowd yesterday during a hard-hat tour.

There are 134 Hard Rock cafes in the world located in 54 countries including in cities such as London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Dubai and Las Vegas.

Joburg is the first city on the African continent to have one. There was one in Cape Town more than a decade ago but it was short-lived.

The story of Hard Rock Cafe began with an Eric Clapton guitar, and it owns the largest collection of music memorabilia displayed at its locations across the world.

So what did Joburg get?

Under the Love All – Serve All motto emblazoned across the eating area, there is a jacket worn by Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne’s jacket from a tour with Black Sabbath and a guitar once used by Eric Burdon.

Elsewhere on display are a lavender velvet jumpsuit Whitney Houston wore on stage, Rihanna’s headgear from her 2010 hit Only Girl (In The World) music video, Elton John’s silver and black space suit he wore in the late 70s, Diana Ross’s dress from her time with the Supremes, Waylon Jennings’ immaculately designed guitar, a drum set from Guns N’ Roses’ Use Your Illusion tour, the longest in rock history which ran from January 1991 to July 1993 and visited 27 countries.

Other items are heels from The Pointer Sisters, the Kente cloth cap worn by the Neville Brothers, loafers worn by The Temptations, and Godfather of Soul James Brown’s satin brown shirt.

There’s also a beige tuxedo shirt owned and worn by Paul McCartney and a leather jacket bought by Jimi Hendrix during the late 60s and which he wore before giving it to his manager.

The pièce de résistance is a display of outfits which were worn onstage by the Jacksons when they appeared on the American Music Awards broadcast in 1977. The inscriptor reads: “The brothers were joined by the sisters, Janet and LaToya, that evening, hence the two women’s versions of the suit. The other three were worn by Tito, Jackie and the King of Pop himself – Michael Jackson.”

Yesterday, the team was at pains to find a mannequin of a teenager with the smallest waist, about size 22, to fit Michael’s pants.

Local stars have also found their place on the wall of fame. The black jacket AKA wore to the SA Music Awards the night he won Best Male artist (he doesn’t remember the designer) shares a space with Danny K’s colourful sneakers that were hand-painted for him in New York.

Food wise, the cafe will have on offer their signature Legendary Experience menu, featuring a selection of 10-ounce Legendary Burgers as well as ribs, chicken and pork.

The drinks menu includes Hurricanes, Margaritas and Alternative Rock (alcohol-free) beverages served in souvenir collectible glassware.

There will also be Joburg-­specific merchandise and fans can also acquire Hard Rock pins.

“Hard Rock is thrilled to be a part of this incredible

country and our newest location will definitely not disappoint,” said Antonio Bautista, area vice-president of Hard Rock International.

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