Gospel night at Live on the Waterfront welcomed
Noel Thompson, Gleaner Writer
Dancehall took on a different meaning Monday night, as Christians danced to the glory of God by the seaside in Montego Bay.
It was the fourth and final night of the maiden Live on the Waterfront stage show, held at Pier One.
The night belonged to Stitchie - the organisers saving the best for last - as the artiste obliterated the pace set by those who preceded him.
Some gospel artistes had their first real taste of the big stage as Christians from all across town made their way to the venue to see them.
Pier One, for many years, has been a prime venue for the staging of countless secular events from dancehall to dancehall queen, but the first-time promoters dedicated a night to gospel - a marked achievement.
It could not go unnoticed and MC
"This is the first time in the history of Jamaica that gospel is getting a night for itself on a secular production. We hope it will be bigger and better in 2012," said Edwards.
The turnout could have been far better, but that was the trend which followed from the three previous nights.
"The atmosphere is quite energetic but the crowd is missing," said Nashun Ricketts, a youth choir director of the Praise Chapel United Pentecostal Church.
Judy Mowatt was as good as she always is. Those who were far off rushed closer to the stage as she sang O Lamb of God and I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb.
The sound of groovy reggae rhythms to selections like How Great is Our God and My God Never Fails was how Ryan Berry ministered in song.
New Generation had the crowd dancing with their mix of DJ, hip hop and rap. The selection Jump had the people doing just that.
The holy ghost was very present as Sister Scully blessed the hearts with her revival medley, including Some Sweet Day, I Love that Man, I Am Under the Rock and Roll Back the Curtains.
There were better things to come as she sounded off the all-time favourites - Hurry Up, Morning Train and Mi Nah Go Dung Deh.
Minister Carlene Davis and her team kept the spiritual fire burning with This Island Needs Jesus; Wash Our Sins Away, and at the introduction of her medley, Davis walked across the stage and picked up her shake as her backup vocalists simultaneously picked up their tambourines to deliver what was a beautiful rendition of Hallelujah.
The crowd was sent into a spiritual gym when an energetic DJ Nicholas hit the stage, running and instructing various exercise moves during his delivery of What Kinda Church is This?, Things Already Better, and Back to the Owner.
Nicholas worked the stage from one corner to the next tirelessly and the crowd danced non-stop throughout his performance.
Prodigal slowed down the tempo with Don't You Give Up on Jesus before plucking Dem a Run Mi Dung, Bun Dem and Higher from his musical catalogue.
At 1:10 a.m., it was time to Fast and Pray with Stitchie, who said he was on an Assignment.
People were mesmerised and at a loss for words, as the general reeled off a barrage of lyrics, challenging the drummer to beat and kick the drums faster than he could roll his tongue for more than a minute.
Patrons railed and jaws dropped in total disbelief.
Having swapped the worldly stage for gospel, Stitchie demonstrated without any doubt that he had not lost his lyrical prowess - from slurs to rhymes and compositions, he hit one after the other.
Stitchie reminded the few patrons that it was at Reggae Sumfest's dancehall night that he was saved.
Stitchie says today's DJs were sleeping.
MC Markland diplomatically asked Stitchie to close by praying a special prayer. In a cappella style, Stitchie sang a prayer. His performance ended prematurely when officers closed the show.