SA concert promoter recalls 1994 nightmare tour

2012-02-13 00:00

WHITNEY Houston’s 10-day tour of South Africa in 1994 was without doubt one of the most difficult of her career.

But it wasn’t the singer who made the experience a nightmare, said concert promoter Attie van Wyk, owner of Big Concerts. It was her retinue of 200 people.

Nearly 18 years later, Van Wyk can still remember the demands made by her managers, most of which were worse than anything Michael Jackson or U2 ever asked for.

“Never make eye contact with her,” was a request made to Big Concerts when she performed in Durban.

Houston also toured with her washing machine and tumble-dryer in tow, which she brought with from the United States, and asked that her changing rooms be decorated in African motifs.

Van Wyk added that he and his team usually met the performers and enjoyed a dinner with them before performances, but not in Houston’s case.

“Her managers kept everyone away from her,” he said.

When Van Wyk heard about Houston’s death yesterday, he immediately thought she’d died as a result of an overdose. “Back then, everyone knew about her drug use and her ex-husband, Bobby Brown, wasn’t a good influence on her,” he said.

“It would be heartbreaking if someone of her age traded in her life for drugs.”

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