Steadier cheers for cause than concert
The cause - supporting the Bustamante Hospital for Children - and line-up, from Police rocker Sting, through to dancehall young gun Dexta Daps, for Shaggy and Friends 2018, were outstanding.
And so was the setting, as the lawns of Jamaica House, St Andrew, were dominated by an impressive stage in size and appointments, the platinum, gold and silver ticket segments of the audience area, healthily populated with the lowest cost metal having the smallest space and patronage.
However, while the merest mention of the concert's purpose was enough to spark applause, cheers for the performances were less predictable and consistent, resulting in a stop and go overall experience, with Wyclef Jean, Barrington Levy, Aidonia and Capleton providing more of the latter up to the 3:31 a.m., close yesterday.
The man who assembled his friends, Shaggy, got things off to a good start - literally, as the first performer, beginning when some persons were still trodding the red carpet flooring and guided to their entrances to join already well-populated sections for the next seven and a half hours. Strength of a Woman was among the tracks that hit home with the bevy of beauties mainly dressed to show their best side.
Romain Virgo was Shaggy's guest as well as Chris Martin's, for whom the audience saved its best for his closing, Big Deal. Then the signs of inconsistency came with Shenseea, whose take on Bob Marley's, Is This Love, was substandard. With a combination of selections as the
mic man, rap and human beat box vocal manipulations, Doug E Fresh was a hit - but then it seemed to be the minority which connected with Ding Dong and his 'syvahing' Ravers, although one of them was an enthusiastic black dress clad pregnant woman in the silver section.
Third World had to wait until Try Jah Love, to get an appreciable audience response, though Professor Nuts hit the funny bone squarely from the get go. The soca couple of Bunji Garlin (who came out first) and Fay-Ann Lyons, were quickly into a groove, the audience roaring as Lyons ended one exchange with the determination to find herself a Jamaican man.
Wayne Wonder's rockers of Forever Young and Heal The World were seasoned with deejaying like incarcerated pal Buju Banton and Sting did his songs - including Every Breath You Take, Fields of Gold, and Message in a Bottle, as well as a combination with Shaggy - to completion and appreciative applause.
The audience was surprisingly quiet for Chaka Demus and Pliers up to Bam Bam, leading into Murder She Wrote, Junior Reid enjoying a strong showing from his opening One Blood, to displaying his fitness with high, arching leg lifts and push-ups. Dexta Daps also enjoyed consistency, adjusting his 7Eleven for the occasion.
Rayvon was brief before Wyclef Jean, who complained about an unresponsive premium audience section before going on to whip up widespread support.