Kenny Rogers to play in Hamilton

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 09:00 31/07/2014
 Kenny Rogers
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CHEERS, KENNY: He’s 75, he’s sold more than 120 million albums, and he recently played to a crowd of 130,000. Now Kenny Rogers will perform at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena.

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Did anybody gamble on Kenny Rogers playing in Hamilton?

The country music superstar will perform at Claudelands Arena on February 15 next year.

Today's announcement of Rogers' show is the latest in what appears to be a snowballing roll call of musical luminaries coming to the river city.

Folk-rock legend Bob Dylan plays the arena on August 9 and 10, while Puerto Rican pop star Ricky Martin will grace the same stage on April 19.

In an ironic twist, a Kenny Rogers impersonator performed in Hamilton less than two months ago. Marty Edwards performed as one third of The Kings of Country at Founders Theatre on June 11, alongside Philip Bauer as Johnny Cash and Marion Deaton as Willie Nelson.

The real Rogers will tour Australia before heading to New Zealand in February for two shows. The Hamilton concert will be preceded by an appearance at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on February 13.

Murray Jeffrey, the director of Hamilton venue managers H3 Group, said the Hamilton arena's surge in popularity was the result of about six years of behind-the-scenes work.

''We are finally getting some traction. The promoters now have the confidence that we can help them be successful.''

If people wanted to see more big names in Hamilton all they needed to do was buy tickets for the upcoming shows and the momentum would continue, Jeffrey said.

''We have got some more very big news coming over the next few weeks.''

Manolo Echave, the New Zealand promoter for Chugg Entertainment, which is managing the Dylan tour, said the arena was considered the perfect size by many artists and a handy alternative to venues like Auckland's Vector Arena and the Logan Campbell Centre.

''Hamilton is so handy in terms of travel times from Auckland and ... the management there are very proactive at promoting the venue. In years to come the arena will attract more and more big names.''

Since his last sold-out visit to these shores in 2012, Rogers has been honoured with an induction into the American Country Music Hall of Fame and the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award - his sixth Country Music Association Award.

He has also made his first appearances at Morocco's world music Festival Timitar and the largest outdoor arts spectacle, the Glastonbury Festival, playing to more than 130,000 enthusiastic fans.

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Rogers' earlier accolades include three Grammy Awards, eighteen American Music Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards and sales of more than one hundred and twenty million - one diamond, twenty platinum and thirty two gold albums, making him one of the top 10 best-selling artists of all time.

The 75-year-old's career spans six decades and includes hits such as The Gambler, Coward of the County, Reuben James, Lucille, Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Lady, She Believes in Me, Islands in the Stream, We've Got Tonight, Daytime Lovers, and Sweet Music Man.

The appropriately-titled Through The Years World Tour follows the release last year of Rogers' 32nd studio album You Can't Make Old Friends, which reunited him with fellow country star Dolly Parton and The Gambler songwriter Don Schlitz.

As an actor, Kenny starred as Brady Hawkes in The Gambler - five films which became the longest running mini-series franchise on American television and another movie inspired by Coward of the County.

Rogers will be supported by New Zealand acts The Bourbon County Brothers and veteran country musician Gray Bartlett.

Tickets for the show will go on sale at 9am on Friday, August 8 through Ticketek.

- Waikato Times

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