Singers' paradise at Negril Reggaefest
It was a musical master class at Wavz Beach, Negril, Westmoreland, on Saturday night with prolific hitmakers Freddie McGregor and Sanchez.
Closer McGregor used his over 40 years of experience as a top-flight performer to give more than a generous sampling of the gems that form his rich catalogue of Jamaica classics.
The fans were ready for 'Freddie' at 2:03 a.m. when, with a compelling gaze and his 'salt and pepper' dreadlocks rolled into a neat ball, he opened with the riveting Every Little Thing. The crowd promptly became his choir. It was a free flow of hits as he delved into If You Wanna Go, Africa, To Be Poor is Crime, Prophecy, Push Come To Shove, the melodious Big Ship and I Was Born a Winner.
Rewarding the ladies for their rich vocal support, McGregor delivered three slow blockbusters, including And So I Will Wait For You, causing many a teary eye.
With the fans on cloud nine, McGregor unleashed heartfelt renditions of songs by Dennis Brown. Here I Come and Revolution had the full stamp of his authority.
McGregor sent the fans home dancing at approximately 2:40 a.m., testing their vocal and skanking capacities with golden oldies such as Carry Go Bring Come and Wings of a Dove.
Sanchez found love in Negril and consummated it. From he took the stage at 11 p.m. until he departed, following an encore some 40 minutes later, he elicited a continuously thunderous response.
Dapper in his trademark suit and tie, Sanchez reeled off over 30 songs, each pleasing the fans, Missing You among the songs which set the stage for what was to come.
He paid tribute to departed greats, unleashing Rasta Children (Dennis Brown), Night Nurse, Number One (Gregory Isaacs), Picture on the Wall (Delroy Wilson), Oh Mr DC (Sugar Minott) and his personal favourite, Tenor Saw's Roll Call.
Sorry and Love Mi Girl Bad sizzled. When he went gospel, the fans quickly transformed into a church choir, giving solid support to Real Real, Down by the Riverside and I'll Fly Away.
The fans demanded an encore and even without the soul-stirring Amazing Grace it was awe-inspiring with Here I Am, Living Up and Would You Dance.
Crystal Axe, Earth Kry, So Flo and Dann-I performed before them.