Three hours of Tosh at Pulse
For three hours on Saturday night into Sunday morning, the music of Winston Hubert McIntosh, OM, simply Peter Tosh as a member of The Wailers or a solo performer, was presented to a large appreciative audience at 38 Trafalgar Road, New Kingston.
The concert, slated to start at 8 p.m., did not get going until 9:30 p.m. under the stewardship of MC Tommy Cowan, who shared the hosting duties with Tony Rebel. However, once the reassembled elements of Word, Sound and Power Band (with the notable exception of Sly Dunbar on drums and Robbie Shakespeare on bass guitar) got going, there was an extensive exploration of a deep music catalogue. Guitarist Donald Kinsey was especially celebrated on his return to Jamaica and Cowan pointed out that sound engineer with Tosh, Dennis Thompson, was at the mixing board.
It was a night of Tosh's music only as, although most of the vocalists paying homage to the man who was murdered on September 11, 1987, have several popular songs of their own, each did one to three Peter Tosh songs. His son, Andrew, opened the concert with Pick Myself Up and, after recurrent appearances throughout the concert, was also part of the unfortunately substandard, anticlimactic finale group performance of Get Up, Stand Up.
The audience members stood, as requested, but despite entreaties, most of the vocalists who paid tribute to Tosh did not return for the final song which, with Zak Starkey on guitar, was, at points, given rock treatment. In addition, an unannounced female vocalist repeatedly shouted the four-word title and refrain as a command rather than singing it as a human duty, making for a jarring experience.
Before the few minutes of sub-par end, though, there was close to 270 minutes of well-delivered Peter Tosh music. In the opening of several mini-sets, Andrew also sang his father's African. Appropriately, Mermans, from the Democratic Republic of Congo did Mama Africa. During his delivery of Bush Doctor, Kinsey did the first of a number of guitar solos, which the audience appreciated immensely. It was a night when the musicians (including the four-man horn section built around long-standing members Nambo Robinson and Dean Fraser) were given room to play, Cowan noting that it was a feature of Peter Tosh's songs.
Kabaka Pyramid leans more towards dejaaying and is a competent rapper. As a singer, using deeper than accustomed tones, he was superb on Whatcha Gonna Do? and Them Haffi Get a Beating, Word, Sound and Power playing the rockers at the correct slow tempo. Marcia Griffiths and Andrew Tosh did Walk and Don't Look Back (originally a duet with Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh), which featured a saxophone solo by Fraser.
Chronixx, who also mainly deejays, took on Burial to excellent results, his stage movement minimal as the slow rhythm infused the crowd. Arise Black Man was a welcome surprise selection and Stop That Train also went over well.
Creation was a perfect fit for Luciano, with his deep intonation and penchant for reading from the Bible at his performances. He did not do it at length but moved on to Legalize It, an accustomed inclusion in his set which was delivered superbly, and ended with Equal Rights before accepting the audience's applause with outspread arms.
Etana was the stand-in for Gwen Guthrie as Andrew Tosh returned for his father's Nothing But Love, Andrew staying for Rastafari Is. Cowan said during Peter's performances it was done for 12 minutes; on Saturday night that was cut in half and included a searing Kinsey solo.
Tarrus Riley included a contemporary reference in Tosh's You Can't Blame The Youth, the crowd cheering as he sang "You tell the youth about Donald Trump/And I know Donald Trump is a skunk." Glass House was an uptempo jam.
Kinsey added vocals to his guitar playing on Where You Gonna Run and Dre Tosh took on his grandfather's Maaga Dog. Live Wyya band, which also plays Tosh music in its set, delivered Brand New Second Hand and Jah Guide before Word, Sound and Power returned for Andrew Tosh to lead the audience in a jam on Buk-In-Hamm Palace. Denroy Morgan was a part of the closing Get Up, Stand Up, at the end of which members of the Tosh family gathered on stage and Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia' Babsy' Grange made a public commitment to the Tosh museum and legacy.
During his hosting duties Tony Rebel dropped a couple bongo clippings and Rasta castles in the spirit of Peter Tosh's word play. And after the live music ended Mutabaruka in his DJ role served up the real thing from Peter Tosh's recordings.