In what she hopes will be a repeat performance energy-wise, Boney M’s Liz Mitchell says she’s ready to once again rock the city of St. John’s this December
While the career highs began in the 70s, Boney M’s longtime vocalist, the Jamaican-born Liz Mitchell, says performance highlights thankfully keep happening.
“We had a beautiful show in St. John’s last December. That kind of energy is something you don’t forget,” she says from her home in England.
Unfortunately, the band’s matriarch shares she didn’t get a chance to see too much of this province of ours. “When you are on tour, unless you are in the town or a city for a full day, you don’t get to see much besides the trip from the airport to the hotel,” she begins.
However, she does offer this tidbit; “the younger people in the band tend to try and get a look around while I’m often dying to get a little bit of shut eye before a performance.”
Mitchell, nearing 70, laughs before also sharing that she holds no grudges towards those with more energy – at least off the stage.
Love of performing
“You’d have to work hard to match my enthusiasm for performing. We have young and old (in the band) but it’s experience as well as enthusiasm – the young musicians are just as enthusiastic as they are talented – that counts.”
Mitchell shares that musical talent runs in her family, and she is often blessed to take extended family members on the road with her.
“My family, since their birth, are so talented and they sometimes come on the road with me. They call me their aunt but when they come on the road with me they see another side and they get the pleasure of working and sharing their talent with audiences. It’s fascinating for me to see them share their talent. It’s a gift.”
Anyone who attended last December’s Boney M show knows it was a party from the opening act to the encore. Is every show the same?
“It depends on whom I’m performing for and the attitude of those in the crowd. We feed off the energy each and every show and there was such a party crowd there that evening, I remember that show.”
So many were dancing in the isles and in their seats. Some were even lucky enough to be hauled up onstage to dance with the group. The band’s hit Rasputin particularly was a crowd pleasing tune.
A favourite song?
Mitchell laughs heartily. “Everyone asks if I have a favourite song and I suppose I ought to but every song is special and if I should start to put one over the other and I start talking about it I stop because I think instantly about another song and why that one is equally as special to me.’’
Naturally some of the hits, like Daddy Cool, Sunny, Ma Baker, Belfast, Rivers of Babylon, Brown Girl in the Ring, Rasputin and Mary’s Boy Child stand out, because they are fan favs.
“It’s the biggest hits that are the ones that are so important and we have to sing them every time because that’s what the fans want to hear, still, I love all the music for many different reasons.”
Back when Mary’s Boy Child was released, Mitchell says there was no thought of releasing a number one song.
“We didn’t think we were going to have a hit record. I rarely meet an artist or singer who says, yeah this is a big hit. And when you say it is? It isn’t, and the song you think is good, well, you think people will just like the song. You hope.”
That’s how it was with Mary’s Boy Child. Adding the ‘oh my Lord’ section was an off-the-cuff thing. “None of us knew we were going to have the kind of success we had. The ‘oh my Lord’ extra bit was just a celebration of my faith and who Jesus is to be honest,” Mitchell says.
“The first week out, back in 1978, the song had sold over three million copies. We didn’t think it would last past Christmas and then January, February and March people were still playing the song. You can’t plan how any song will be received or how it will be responded to and we were very thrilled.”
Bottom line? Mitchell hopes fans of all ages will fill Mile One on December 20th, and bring their dancing shoes.
“Last year was so much fun. I hope to really feel that same energy when we return.”
The show, presented by VaughnCo Entertainment, will be held on Thursday, December 20th at 8 pm at Mile One Centre. Tickets range in price from $46.00 – $63.50 (including tax plus surcharge) and are available at the Mile One Centre Box Office, 709 576-7657 and online at mileonecentre.com.