Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
A shorter list of acts on the programme seemed to be the only qualm on the otherwise successful annual open-air mega-church-like concert, the final activity of Best Dressed Chicken-sponsored Fun in the Son, held on Saturday at the National Heroes Park in Kingston.
Organised by Glory Music and Jamaica Broilers, the day-long gospel event, Fun in the Son extravaganza culminated with a six-hour concert.
The concert was billed with local and international high-charge gospel artistes. They included Junior Tucker, Goddy Goddy, DJ Nicholas, Carlene Davis, Papa San and featured guest artiste Kirk Franklin. All ensured that the anticipated huge turn out from far and near left feeling blessed.
Energetic Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin was given the largest chunk of time. Wearing a green army coloured knee-length shorts and an orange T-shirt, the international gospel artiste ministered with songs such as Behold the Lamb, Rain Down On Me and Stomp. Throughout his performance the Texan was energetic and animated, and the crowd, as expected, reacted to his every action and word.
But the concert, being held in the 50th anniversary year of Jamaica as well as one that is endorsed by the Jamaica 50th Secretariat, fittingly closed with Jamaican Papa San.
Dressed for a church service he skipped on in a full suit. But was forced to abandon jacket and tie as he and his 'church' sang God and I, Jesus Mek Mi Smile and Shake Your Tambourine. In delivering his final song Ah You Alone Fi Get Di Glory God, the ordained minister "declare a decree" to all ills in the lives of his congregation.
One of them was Latoya Shandwright, who was in attendance with her two children. She began by saying the show "was good."
"It's a mixture of songs I know and songs I don't know ... I enjoyed Papa San and I enjoyed Carlene Davis, and Kirk Franklin wasn't bad. I expected more from him. But I especially loved the last part of Papa San's act where he declared a decree," she said.
Carlene Davis did not declare a decree, but provided the right atmosphere for Andrew Palau's spoken word ministry. Along with singing songs such as One Hand Full of Holes, a medley of songs including Rock Holy, and This Island Needs Jesus, she told the audience, "When you have the Lord as your saviour you celebrate spiritual independence." And the minister concluded her act with the slow tempo You are Worthy to be Praised.
Also wearing a full suit was Goddy Goddy. He ministered with songs such as One Wife and Chaka Chai Chai. New father, DJ Nicholas included Volume and Holy Ghost Gym in his act.
Junior Tucker broke down during his performance and had to leave the stage, as the loss of his mother, and second child on the day his mother was buried, was too much to bear.
But before shedding tears, the minister who was clad in full white, gave a powerful sermon with Thank Your Saturday Morning, Sold Out and I Believe in God.
Other musical ministers were Rondell Positive, Denise Wright and Simply Chrysolite, a group of six females from South Africa. MCs were Che Cowan and Nadine Blair.
But before the popular concert, the day-long gospel feast saw a wide range of children's activities such as face painting and a variety of rides, as well as a children's stage show. There was also sport ministry. Additionally, as a tribute to Jamaica's 50th anniversary, the day's events included a heritage tour and concert. MC for that segment was Leonie Forbes.
Overall, it seemed to have been a fantastic day for not only those who came from far but from the neighbouring communities.
"It was a great experience", said St Andrew College student Abbygail Bloomfield, an Allman Town resident. "It was great for it to come to Allman Town, as something like this does not come here. Her mother, Ann-Marie Francis, said it was beautiful and hoped that it would return next year, "Because the community needs it. We need it bad... it can save a lot of souls."
And Leon Brown (not from the area) said, "Compared to last year's show this year's show is far, far better. The location accommodate more people. It has more space and more activities. I have been here from 2 p.m., and stayed until the end as the 'Fun in the Son' keep going and going."