Country music star to perform three big shows in Redcliffe

Published 4:00pm 25 May 2022

Country music star to perform three big shows in Redcliffe
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

He’s performed for audiences across the globe, and now Australian country music star Darren Coggan is set to return to Moreton Bay to perform not one, but three big shows at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre this year.

Darren will take to the stage to pay homage to Cat Stevens with his show Remember the Days of Cat Stevens on Friday, June 17, as well as sing alongside Australian Idol winner Damien Leith in The Two of Us – The Songs of Lennon and McCartney on Saturday, July 23.

For his third performance on October 14, Darren will take the audience on a journey through the Poems, Prayers and Promises of John Denver’s life.

Speaking to Moreton Daily ahead of his first show, Darren said he was excited to return to “one of his favourite venues”.

“The Redcliffe Entertainment Centre is an amazing venue – it’s one I love playing at,” he said.

“The theatre staff are amazing; the audiences are amazing – there’s just a great atmosphere there in Redcliffe.

“I performed my Cat Stevens show there in 2021 and we had such a great response from the audience that the theatre people told us they were very keen to have us back again soon.

“As an artist, hearing that someone wants you to come back and perform again, it’s such a thrill and an amazing feeling.

“I guess you could say this show will be the encore!”

No stranger to the stage

Darren has carved out an impressive career in the Australian country music industry and has a swag of Golden Guitars under his belt.

His big break came after winning the coveted Toyota Star Maker talent quest at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 1996.

“Previous winners include Keith Urban, Lee Kernaghan and Beccy Cole, just to name a few,” Darren said.

“I would have been 24 when I won, and it was a great launch pad for me into the music industry.

“Country music has always been a huge part of who I am as an artist – the albums I have released are very much of that genre.

“Then I branched out into other genres and got into the world of musical theatre.

“I had the chance to be in a few big musicals. I played Richie Cunningham in an arena performance of Happy Days. It was the first time my red hair and freckles have come in handy in my career,” he said, laughing.

“I have also done Shout and a few productions of Grease the Musical.

“As an artist, it’s great that I can marry these two worlds – my country music world and my musical theatre world – which allows me to do the shows I do today.

“My shows are not tribute shows. I set them up in a very theatrical way to elevate them against the stereotypical tribute shows with stories and anecdotes.

“I don’t come out dressed like the performers. When I walk out onto the stage, I am just me.

“These artists – Cat Stevens, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and John Denver – all have meaningful songs, so I have made it my mission to perform them with respect.

“I don’t want to be pretending because these are all songs that I love, and songs that I grew up with.”

Throughout his career, Darren has performed for thousands of music lovers all over the world. He has spent the past decade touring some of the world’s most prestigious theatres such as the Sydney Opera House, Glasgow Concert Hall and Liverpool Philharmonic with his critically acclaimed production Peace Train – The Cat Stevens Story.

While he has been gracing stages for more than a quarter of a century, Darren still likes to take some time out before each show to visualise how it will go down.

“I do have a routine. I like to find a quiet space where I can have a cup of peppermint tea and do some meditation where I visualise myself on stage and hope that everything goes well, and the audiences likes the show.

“I know peppermint tea isn’t very rock and roll though,” he said, laughing.

Country music star to perform three big shows in Redcliffe

A surreal moment meeting his idol

Darren had the chance to meet his idol Cat Stevens in London, which he described as a “surreal” experience.

“I had the privilege of travelling to London to meet Cat Stevens as he had heard about the show through one of his family members,” Darren said.

“I was performing in Melbourne in 2007 and his nephew was living there so he bought a ticket and came along.

“After the show he introduced himself and said he was impressed by how similar I sounded to his uncle.

“He contacted Cat and arranged that surreal journey for me.

“I was incredibly nervous to meet him, but he disarmed that straight away. He was very normal, gracious and humble, and every bit as kind and inspiring I hoped he would be.

“He took me for lunch, and he kindly autographed all the Cat Steven albums I took over.

“He left me spellbound – he spoke about Cat Stevens as if it were a character he played.

“I got the chance to hear firsthand the many anecdotal stories of his life and his career, which is what I share with our audience as part of the show.

“He also spoke about the industry and people he met, like Jimmy Hendricks – it was like I was reading the encyclopedia of rock and roll.”

Remember the Days of Cat Stevens

Having met his idol, Darren felt a weight of responsibility to do justice to Cat Stevens’ music and his story.

“The performance is very intimate and personal and the inclusion on this tour of a stringed quartet will bring another beautiful dimension to these already exquisite songs,” he said.

“This new production also highlights how relevant Cat's timeless songs and messages of peace, tolerance and understanding are in our world today, perhaps even more relevant than when they were first written back in the 70s.

“Our audiences obviously come expecting to hear those timeless songs of Cat Stevens, but I think they walk away with so much more - a real insight and understanding of who he was and his eternal spiritual search for fulfillment.”

Songs such as Peace Train, Moonshadow, Wild World, Morning Has Broken, Where Do the Children Play and Father and Son all feature on the set list.

This show will be held at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre on Friday, June 17 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are $45 per person. A $2 online/$2.10 phone transaction fee also applies.

To book, visit the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre website.

Country music star to perform three big shows in Redcliffe

Two Of Us – The Songs of Lennon and McCartney

Darren, along with Australian Idol winner Damien Leith, will combine for this special tour dedicated to singer/songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

The songbook traverses immortal songs from The Beatles’ treasure trove of pop history, along with the richness and diversity of Lennon and McCartney’s solo careers.

To keep the songs true to how they would have sounded back when they were first penned, Darren and Damien keep it uncomplicated on stage, with just a guitar, a piano and two voices.

“Damien and I were discussing how fabulous it would be to go back in time to 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool and be a ‘fly on the wall’ witnessing the intuitive genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney as they threw ideas back and forth writing their treasure trove of hits,” Darren said.

“Imagine hearing those songs as they were first written? As a songwriter myself, I really enjoy the feeling of performing songs in their original form, as there is something very honest and emotionally raw that seems to allow the songs to breathe.

“A great song will always be able to stand up on its own, just on a guitar, or a piano, and as we all know, the songbook of Lennon and McCartney is filled with such gems.”

The two-hour show is back-to-back hits featuring hit songs like Hey Jude, All You Need Is Love, Help, Imagine, Mull of Kintyre, Eleanor Rigby, Let It Be, Jealous Guy, Beautiful Boy and Blackbird.

This show will be held at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre on Saturday, July 23 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are $65 per person. A $2 online/$2.10 phone transaction fee also applies.

To book, visit the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre website.

The Poems, Prayers and Promises of John Denver

Music fans will not be disappointed as Darren performs all of John Denver’s universal anthems, from Take Me Home Country Roads to Rocky Mountain High, Annie’s Song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy, and Leaving on A Jet Plane, to name a few.

For Darren, there has always been something about John Denver’s songs, and songwriting which has always inspired him. Even from an early age, the music resonated with him.

“I have been a fan of John Denver’s for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“The very first songs I learned to play on the guitar at age six were John Denver songs. The first big concert my parents took me to at age 13 was John Denver in Canberra, and after that night, the whole world started to spin in a different way for me.

“It was just John on stage, with his guitars and a voice full of sunshine. He filled the room with love and seemed to have a personal connection with every single person in the audience.

“I thought, that’s what I want to do. He was the reason I wanted to become a country singer-songwriter.

“I found great refuge in his albums and there was a spirit in his music that resonates with me to this day.”

This show will be performed at the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre on Friday, October 14 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are $45 per person. A $2 online/$2.10 phone transaction fee also applies.

To book, visit the Redcliffe Entertainment Centre website.

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