56 Hope Road jam-packed for Gong's 73rd
However, the nucleus of all the celebrations took place at 56 Hope Road, the official Kingston compound of the global ambassador.
The venue space was open to the public from 10 a.m. to engage the public with panel discussions, sale of wares and other attractions. After sunset, it was squeeze room only. The gates were choked with patrons shuffling into or out of the jam-packed concert. Many audience members stood still and transfixed at the stage, while the few who moved could only gingerly meander along the perimeter walls and barricades.
In addition to Soul Rebel 73 ambassadors, the up-and-coming reggae band Adazeh, reggae-scat-artiste Blvk H3ro and legacy-songstress Naomi Cowan (who shared hosting duties with Exprezz and Carrie Sigurdson), the stage at 56 upheld the performances of established singers like Fanton Mojah, Black I Man and Junior Kelly.
From the lion's den
Those transfixed patrons were treated to performances from the Lion's Den Studio in Miami, Florida a live stream segment which featured The Gong's descendants. Opening the live stream was Betty Wright who sang a pristine rendition of Thank You for the Many Things You've Done, her first phrasing pulled hoots and hollers from an otherwise stoic crowd.
Skip Marley then took the mic, performing his hit single, Lion, followed by Stephen Marley, delivering soulful, raspy renditions of Big Tree Small Axe, Exodus and Redemption Song. Damian Marley joined his brother in the studio, offering a performance of the single, Slave Mill, from his Grammy-winning album, Stony Hill.
Cham (formerly Baby Cham) and Mr Vegas also joined in on the concert from the Lion's Den studio.
The live stream concluded with an ensemble performance of The Gong's high-energy jam, Could You Be Loved.
A noticeable number of patrons left the concert after the stream ended, but for those who remained, they were further entertained by the likes of Iba Mahr, Bugle, Agent Sasco and Junior Reid.