When The Cat's Away are reuniting after 33 years to honour their beloved friend Margaret

Publish Date
Monday, 24 July 2023, 10:46AM
When The Cat's Away. Photo / Supplied

When The Cat's Away. Photo / Supplied

One of New Zealand’s most cherished bands ever, When The Cat’s Away, will reunite for the first time in 33 years in a special, one-night-only event, to farewell their friend and fellow bandmate Margaret Urlich, who sadly lost her life last year.

A Tribute to Margaret Urlich at Auckland’s Town Hall on October 1 will feature the four original members of the Hall of Fame group, Debbie Harwood, Annie Crummer, Dianne Swann and Kim Willoughby, performing their biggest hits including Melting Pot and Asian Paradise.

The multi-media event will honour the extraordinary life of the singer described as a “true and rare talent, who lit up any room”, a four-time winner of New Zealand Female Vocalist of the Year, winner of Best Selling New Zealand Artist of the Year, an Aria-award winner, a mother and a friend. Proceeds from this event will go to Margaret’s family.

The event will also feature original members of the When The Cat’s Away backing band, Brett Adams and Gary Verberne on guitars and Holidaymakers’ maestro Barbara Griffin on keys, as well as The Band of Gold who have been Debbie and Margaret’s NZ band for the past 14 years. To honour Margaret’s solo career, there will be some very special guests joining When The Cat’s Away for performances of her songs Escaping, Only My Heart Calling, Room That Echoes, Boy in the Moon and more.


Margaret Urlich gets the crowd going at the When The Cat's Away concert held at the Church Road winery on February 22, 2002. Photo / Tim Whittaker

Founding member Debbie Harwood says the band, whose The Melting Pot Tour was the biggest tour in NZ music history, playing to over 85,000 people one summer, wanted to do something special to honour Margaret.

“Sadly we didn’t get to say goodbye,” says Debbie. “Marg lived in New South Wales, Covid and the closed borders meant we just couldn’t get there. We wanted to celebrate her life in the best possible way singing the songs we loved performing together.”

When The Cat’s Away were a New Zealand vocal supergroup formed in 1986 for fun only to become one of our most successful bands ever. Inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2021 as a group, all members have also been honoured individually as inductees.

Pre-sales to A Tribute to Margaret Urlich begin today.

All remaining tickets will be available at 9am this Friday, July 28 from Ticketmaster.

This is a one-off event and a rare chance to see some of New Zealand’s most successful artists together, performing a collection of our best-loved songs.

This article was first published in the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.

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