Tina Turner fans would no doubt remember the singer's 1980s Sydney tour, when a particular venue down south rocked it out for one of the greatest voices.
It was just after her manager advised her to drop her band and re-model into a grittier rock 'n' roll showcase. She fronted St George Leagues Club several times, from December 9-13 in 1980, then from June 17-19 in 1982 and from July 1-3 in the same year.
With her signature spiky hair, red lipstick and louder than life rock vocals, Turner was also the face and voice of rugby league from 1989-1995. She famously appeared at the grand final in 1993 when the Dragons played the Broncos, with the Dragons losing steam 14-6.
Kogarah was pumping at what was known as the 'Taj Mahal' of Sydney, because of its size and opulence.
St George Leagues Club had quickly become one of Sydney's top entertainment venues, with big Saturday night stage shows rivalling those in the CBD.
The main ballroom/auditorium comfortably held more than 1000 patrons. Turner's big performance at the venue was 17 years after it officially opened its doors, being one of the most memorable stars to appear on the stage.
According to Facebook group I Grew Up in Mortdale, in December, 1980, just after 8pm, Turner was backstage preparing for the opening night of her sell-out appearance at the club. In the audience, Bette Midler, disguised, sits incognito. She has come as Turner's guest to see the show.
Several metres away, a heavily pregnant woman went into labour. Turner was winding up her show when the spotlight was thrown onto the audience and she introduced Midler. The Beaches star climbed onto the stage and they finished the show together.
With a career spanning five decades, Turner became known worldwide with hits including Simply the Best, What's Love Got to Do With It and We Don't Need Another Hero.
Turner died in Switzerland, age 83 on May 24, 2023 after a long illness.
Gerard Willems, a pianist is at St George Leagues Club, posted a special tribute on Facebook, noting a piece of signed memorabilia he hung onto.
"I'm a huge Tina Turner fan," he said. "Her passing really marks the end of an era.
"I don't have many autographed things. Some opportunities such as working with Makarova, Nureyev and Barishnikov would have been good opportunities to get a photograph or signature. But in the moment, that never occurred to me. But one, I treasure.
"St George Leagues Club certainly did not compare to any of Tina's usual venues. It was July 1982. I walked up to Tina Turner after a concert. I had nothing for her to write an autograph on, so I quickly grabbed a (used) coaster and asked her whether she would kindly sign it.
"She just laughed I don't know whether it was the coaster ... or whether it was the 'Merry Christmas' on it. But she did it - on the back ; 'with much love'.
"I remember being absolutely mesmerised by her performance of River Deep, Mountain High. What an extraordinary artist. Rest in Peace now in the heavens of musical legends."
"We had front row seats at St George Leagues Club...what a fabulous Rock and Roll queen" - Kerrie Condon
"This would have been at the peak of her solo career" - Taryn Natalie
"One amazing and fabulous show...still up there as a favourite over the years" - Heather Lenihan
"Sat at a table near the stage. Almost had to duck as she whipped the microphone cord over our heads" - Jane Silvester
"I attended a show and Tina had her son in the band on guitar" - Michael Manning
"She has overcome so many trials and tribulations. A brilliant woman and a brilliant performer. Her legs are phenomenal" - Annette Schaab
I had an autographed copy of those legs. I wish I could find it" - Del Williams
"She autographed my River Deep LP. An amazing voice" - Geoff Mullins
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