Double salute for Sanchez - Major acts rushed due to long line-up
Singer Sanchez made a spectacular return to the local major concert stage on Friday night, earning a double encore with a dazzling performance on the opening night of Rebel Salute 2016 at Grizzly's Plantation Cove, Priory, St Ann,
However, while there was the brilliance of Sanchez and others such as Nature, the Congos, Tanto Metro and Devonte, Gem Myers, Nesbeth, Kabaka Pyramid, Kelissa, and Hopeton James, the overloaded line-up, which forced most of the major acts to perform badly truncated sets, was a major irritant to some of the artistes and fans.
LUST, Ritchie Spice and Bugle, who all performed fairly tidy but extremely short sets by their standards, voiced their displeasure at being 'rushed' through their sets by the stage manager, who tried desperately to get all the acts to perform. In the end, closing act Jah Mason had to cut into Louis Culture's set to get a piece of the action.
HIT AFTER HIT
Sanchez reeled off hit after hit and even got emotional, shedding tears as he sang the gospel-flavoured You Raise Me Up, telling God thanks for sparing him through some of his difficult experiences.
It was Sanchez at his best as he did perennial favourites such as Here I Am, Sorry, One In A Million and a tribute medley to deceased reggae icons Gregory Isaacs (Night Nurse), Dennis Brown (Here I Come), Tenor Saw (Roll Call), and Sugar Minott (Oh Mr DC).
When Sanchez left the stage with the crowd in a singing and dancing frenzy, MC Cordell Green promptly responded to deafening screams for more. After the nattily attired singer was bestowed with a POD (People Order of Distinction), Sanchez again had the crowd screaming in delight as he unleashed Soul Provider and Living Up, which earned him a second encore. He skilfully delivered with Never Dis the Man.
On night one of Rebel Salute 2016, dubbed Singers Paradise, roots music provided fans with a pleasing contrast via veteran group The Congos and much newer performer Kabaka Pyramid. The Congos, who shared their set with French artiste Pappa Jay, blended rich harmonies with pulsating music, offering Open Up The Gate, Revolution, Thief in the Vineyard, and Fisherman. Pyramid was philosophical in blending thought-
provoking social commentary with songs such as Never Gonna Be a Slave, No Capitalist, Mi Alright and the potent Well Done.
In terms of grabbing the crowd's attention and keeping the gathering happy over a sustained period, the honours were shared among the hard-hitting Yvad, velvet smooth Hopeton James, St Ann natives Little Hero and his brother Pees Zed, and the internationally sounding Nesbeth and Nature.
Yvad rolled back the clock with We Need Love, alongside newer songs such as Riverton and Herbalist. Hopeton James was like a well trained general, marching through Talk About Love, You Don't Care For Me, I'm in the Mood and Change Gonna Come, earning an encore.
Hero was compelling, blending older songs like God Alone with newer material including Freedom and Buss Again. Nature was all energy and charisma, dancing through Revolution, Trying Man and the powerful World Peace. Nesbeth was equally compelling with Ole Gangalee, Taste Victory and excellent My Dream.
Veteran acts Tony Gregory, as well as Ernie Smith and Pluto Shervington who performed together, engaged the fans, playing lively, interactive sets which generated much excitement. Ernie and Pluto were particularly witty with Ben' Down, Ram Goat Liver and Duppy Gunman.
While being significantly outnumbered by their male counterparts, the women on the line-up were dazzling with Gem Myers and firebrand Kelissa the most potent. It was a case of hit after hit for Myers, who stood tall with original songs and classy cover versions, while Kelissa was excellent with her message music.
LUST, Richie Spice, Bugle, Luciano, Everton Blender, Louie Culture and Jah Mason were virtually handcuffed by the situation. While they reminded fans of their class with a few offerings from their catalogues, many of their trademark hits were not delivered because of the limited time available.
Lukie D of LUST said he found it difficult to work with the stage manager telling them to cut their set. Spice went even further, saying he would not perform on Rebel Salute again unless he was given adequate time. Luciano and Blender deserve credit for trying to cram as many hits as they could into their respective sets.
Rebel Salute promoter Tony Rebel, who was celebrating his birthday. The Heptones, Jah Dore, Chezidek, Jah Mali, the Earth Kry Band, DuRite, Wild Life, The Wizard, Emmanuel Stain, Runkus and emerging roots singer Khalilah Rose, added much class to the positive side of the package.