No doubt it is something to do with the setting of the concert lawn – the mountain as the backdrop and the sun setting slowly behind it – but for a rock concert, there was a remarkable sense of harmony and peacefulness at Kirstenbosch as friends and families filled the lawn for the Just Jinjer performance.
This fantastic band, a regular in the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series lineup, could easily play in a far bigger venue to a crowd triple the size, but the fact that their fans are given the chance to hear them in such an intimate environment only makes the experience more memorable. There were a few sound glitches at the beginning, but like any true musical legends they laughed them off and carried on. Playing hits including ‘She Knows’ and ‘Time of Your Life’, the band easily transported us all into another world.
All three band members – Ard Matthews, Denholm Harding and Brent Harris – have great stage presence but Matthews in particular is an archetypal live performer. He told personal stories in between songs, took song requests, and walked through the crowd taking selfies. The dancing wasn’t restricted to the mosh pit at the foot of the stage, but people stood up to dance and jump amongst their picnics, glass of wine in hand.
Ending the concert with their latest hit single ‘Bright Light’ was an obvious business move from a band that has already sold over a quarter of a million albums, and quite right too. But they also chose to round off with a deconstructed version of the ever popular ‘Sugar Man – a tribute to Rodriguez and to their long-standing fans, as well as a delightfully faultless take on Katy Perry’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – a reflection of the playful good humour with which this fabulous band approaches life.
Just Jinjer performed as part of the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series on 7 December 2014.