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90 magical minutes of Mr Hammond - Beres carries Salute 2016 night 2 to pre-dawn

Published:Monday | January 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Beres Hammond perfoirms yesterday morning at Rebel Salute 2016, held at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann.

Beres Hammond came on stage at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann, at 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning. When he gave thanks to the Almighty in song and the large, adoring audience which he repeatedly called "family", it was just after 6 a.m., the sky was getting grey to the east and Mr Hammond had sung, occasionally joked and conversed his way into the hearts of music lovers all over again.

It was an unusually late performance time for Hammond, who was briefly joined by Marcia Griffiths for Live On, which gave the audience yet another lift during a performance of many high moments. Co-organiser of the Rebel Salute 2016 concert which Hammond was performing on, Tony Rebel also shared some stage time, laying Fresh Vegetable on the same rhythm after Hammond did Tempted to Touch.

There was a friendly soul song rivalry, Hammond doing Sam Cooke's For Sentimental Reason in the brief battle of the ballads.

Those two pairings - which took place late in Hammond's stage time - apart, it was all Beres from the opening I Can't, the jacket soon going for him to carry on in white long sleeves, buttons coming undone to show a black undershirt. Carrying himself like a favourite uncle at a family gathering who just happens to be a world-renowned singer, Hammond played host to his audience as he went through the uptempo Step Aside and pair of One Dance and She Loves Me Now (although Settling Down was left out of the trilogy).

In lockstep with the Harmony House Band, when Hammond hailed the 'family' or 'Rebel Salute', it was melodious; when he deejayed "who say big man don't cry" for an unavoidably absent Buju Banton, he rode the rhythm like the oft-touted tyre pon a rim.

Hammond claimed to not be able to talk much, so he would sing to a particular lady, crooning the not-so-well-known lyric "woman, you taught me to love."

The sentimental Rockaway, resolute Putting Up Resistance, joyful I Feel Good, cynical Sweet Lies, couldn't-care-less They Gonna Talk and aching No Disturb Sign were part of the concert, during music which the band played at a volume which foregrounded Hammond's vocals, increasing in volume as required for maximum musical effect.

Close to the end, Hammond strolled to individual band members as they soloed, the drummer descending from his perch to sling his sticks on specially set up drums, as well as his colleagues' guitars, to the crowd's delight.