Stars R Us wins on Champs night - Surprise as Beres Hammond closes off performances
About the time the green-and-black clad men of Red Hills Road were in the early stages of celebrating their 2017 Champs victory at the National Stadium on Saturday night, a large audience was cheering for The Jays' refrain of "yaho" at the Ranny Williams Centre on Hope Road.
Most of the venue's few remaining empty blue seats were taken by the time explosions of colour from fireworks at the National Stadium were within sight of the audience at Stars R Us. The sound did not carry, though, not with the consistent music and spontaneous cheers for performers at the vintage series.
The appreciation continued through performances by Ernest Wilson, Dennis Walks, The Silvertones, Patrick Buddo (who opened the show's second segment singing to recorded tracks), Ken Boothe, Admiral Bailey, Johnny Clarke, Yellowman, George Nooks and Josey Wales.
To cap off a good night, there was a surprise cameo by Beres Hammond, who MC Bob Clarke described as "the chairman of the board" (a title used for American singer Frank Sinatra). Members of the audience went closer to the stage and were patient during the gap between Clarke's announcement and Hammond's appearance. They also showed patience at the obvious lack of a rehearsed synergy between Hammond and Lloyd Parkes and We The People Band, as those within earshot were happy to hear parts of Rockaway, No Goodbye, Double Trouble, Tempted to Touch, One Dance and She Loves Me Now any way they could.
There was consistent humour and a high musical standard throughout the first Stars R Us in two years, Ernest Wilson (who performed without Clarendonians partner Peter Austin) singing "sex is what I teach" as he did a Barry White track. The Silvertones' silver jackets shimmered as they danced to their version of Midnight Hour and Buddo knelt as he sang for the ladies.
The longer performances began with an outstanding Ken Boothe, who mixed twirls with tunes, Silver Words and Everything I Own among the songs that created a choir at the venue. Admiral Bailey's Della Move leg twitches moved the audience and Yellowman took off one shirt to show toned arms protruding from his merino, Blueberry Hill and Three Nights a Week keeping the audience happy.
Clarke's query about the audience's well-being was answered positively, Move Out of Babylon among his tracks that hit home. From Tribal War to Ride out the Storm, George Nooks led a singalong and Josey Wales incorporated stories into his performances of Love Triangle and Belt, among others.
Mutabaruka played recorded music during intermission and, at the end, sent the audience dancing out of Ranny Williams to Murder She Wrote.