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Little Wing, that popular band from the ’60s and ‘70s, is having reunion gigs next month and they want their fans from yesteryear to come and “party like it’s 1969” – the year that gave us the famed Woodstock Festival and Flower Power”.
It’s all happening over a two-week period in March when former members fly in from Australia to do two gigs at Kaleidoscope in Claremont, and the Royal Cape Golf Club in Wynberg.
All the original members of the group, bar one, will be onstage for the gigs and the repertoire has been worked out and practised in Cape Town and Sydney.
The New Beginnings band will share the spotlight with the group, providing depth to the whole initiative. New Beginnings has a strong following in Cape Town satisfying a need among older music lovers for songs of the ’60s and ’70s.
Back then, when Little Wing was packing out venues, the line-up was Mike Smith (guitar), Randall Bezuidenhout (guitar), Bernie Lawrence (bass) and Noel Kistima (drums), with Jimmy Engelbrecht on vocals. Mike, Randall and Noel are flying in from Australia.
“This is going to be one helluva party,” Bernie said.
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“The guys are all aged 70 or hitting 70 shortly. Mike and Noel turned 70 in December last year. So we thought while we are all still alive and kicking let’s get together and have a party to remember. It will be a collaboration with New Beginnings of course, and with friends who want to join – the project is called Little Wing, New Beginnings and Friends.”
At this stage, for personal reasons, Jimmy had indicated that he would not be able to be part of the reunion.
“We have some good vocal talent in New Beginnings and, since Jimmy won’t be there, the New Beginnings singers will handle it. Jimmy is more than welcome to join us if he wants to do a song or two,” Bernie said.
“It’s 50 years since the three-day Woodstock festival in 1969. Those were good times. Our repertoire will be the same songs we played back then – Carlos Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Mountain, Eric Clapton and we’ll segue into the Earth Wind and Fire stuff when everybody is on stage.
The opening nights are March 16 and 17 (Sat and Sun) at Kaleidoscope in Claremont and the following weekend, March 22, at the Royal Cape Golf Club in Wynberg.
On March 23, the reunion tour moves to St Aidan’s hall in Lansdowne. It is a venue that holds a special place in the hearts of the Little Wing band and its followers. That was the group’s home base and they packed them in there.
“Playing at St Aidan’s is part of a very nostalgic journey. It mean’s so much to us and I’m sure it will to many others,” Bernie said.
The group would like to do one more gig on March 21. “We’d like it to be a ‘themed’ gig, sort of like a Flower Power Party with people coming dressed in their hippie gear, bell bottoms and flowers in their hair. And maybe bring their kid and grandkids along.”
They haven’t settled on a venue for the gig yet but it is quite possible that it will be at Royal Cape as well.
Bernie was at pains to point out that the reunion was not a money-making venture.
“It is not intended to be a money generating exercise. Mike Smith is only going to be here for one week. He can’t get off from work for very long. He comes in on the 15th and has a private get-together with one of his earlier groups, The Renegades. He is gone the following week.”
Bernie has some advice for their old fans: “I’d suggest you book early. Kaleidoscope only takes about 150-200 people and some people from Australia have already booked three tables.
My brother, Ossie, on the left. Owen Adriaanse next to him. Errol Alexander on drums and on the right, me. This would have been late 60’s.