Time has not slowed down Normie Rowe.
The music star who became a household name in Australia in the 1960s celebrated his 74th birthday this month with a long lunch with more than two dozen friends across two tables on the Gold Coast where he lives.
"For the last year and half, I've been at the gym three days a week, trying to keep physically fit," he says. "I am singing regularly at home, practising guitar at home ... it's either use or lose it."
Rowe is about to embark on a tour called The 3 Legends with Dinah Lee and Jade Hurley, backed by a four-piece band. In his heyday in the 1960s Rowe churned out several pop hits, including Shakin' All Over, Ohh La La and It Ain't Necessarily So.
The tour kicks off in Newcastle, with six more shows following in Queensland. "We think the tour might have some terrific legs," Rowe says, eyeing venues in regional NSW.
Rowe has also been performing a solo show, Access All Areas, and says he's still at the top of his game.
"I think I'm singing better today than I have at any time in my life," he says.
It's as much about stagecraft as raw talent, Rowe says.
"With experience and skill, you get to use the things it's taken a lifetime to acquire," he says.
Like veering from the play list and taking requests from the audience and being able to deliver on them?
I think I'm singing better today than I have at any time in my life.Normie Rowe
"I think anybody who is not nimble is making a big mistake," he says. "Providing one has to be capable of carrying out the quick moves in another direction."
The show with Dinah Lee and Jade Hurley features interplay among the three of them at various points in the show. While it's almost like reliving their youth for the performers, the feeling can be the same for the crowd, Rowe says.
Hurley sings several songs from the period when he featured on the Mike Walsh and Midday shows. New Zealand-born Dinah Lee performs songs from her career.
Her hits included Don't You Know Yockomo, Reet Petite and Do the Blue Beat.
"It is like a family," Rowe says, as in, there are no mental barriers between the crowd and the band.
The show is bound to evoke memories, with all three stars having multiple hits decades ago. Of course, Rowe went on to another career in musicals, notably playing Valjean in Les Miserables, plus main roles in productions of Annie, Chess and Evita.
It is not lost on Rowe that his fans remember those roles, particularly Valjean.
"All these years later people are saying, 'I saw you in Les Miserables'. What I did - what we did - we impinged on the psyche of people. Those sort of things can be life changing," he says.
"It was a honour. I took it very seriously."