Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
A touch of class in production complemented by an excellent line-up at the 20th staging of Rebel Salute at Richmond, St Ann, won patrons over with the relocation as Friday night set the tone for the two-day event at its new home.
The brilliance of Beres Hammond's showmanship at Rebel Salute eclipsed that of his previous performances in recent times in Jamaica as he craftily engaged reggae fans in an awe-inspiring performance that left patrons satisfied.
It was difficult for Beres to end his close to one-hour stint onstage to make way for Tarrus Riley as his fans refused to let him leave without singing favourites like One Dance, Rockaway, Groovy Little Thing and She Loves Me Now, among several others.
Following the excellent set by Beres, Tarrus Riley had his work cut out for him, but the She's Royal reggae star made good on his intent to thrill the huge crowd gathered in the garden parish of Jamaica.
Riley, who is no stranger to going the extra mile in pleasing his fans, had the audience enthralled by his vocal range. They had no choice but to sing word-for-word songs such as Lion Paw, Shaka Zulu Pickney, Love's Contagious and his recent hit Sorry Is A Sorry Word.
The rain cut his performance, ending the show at 6 a.m.
But one of the evening's most highly anticipated performances, featuring international reggae star Shine Head, offered a great incentive for patrons who had not seen him perform live in Jamaica for more than a decade. Sporting a corn-row hairstyle, a pink and white long sleeve shirt paired with jeans, the English-born reggae star made good on his promise to revive his old hits and make them relevant at Rebel Salute on Friday night.
With his Strive and Gimme No Crack songs, Shine Head showed that great music can serve decades and still resonate with music fans.
One of the longest-lasting reggae groups, Aswad, gave an amazing performance at Rebel Salute, and that proved reggae's prowess on the international stage remains strong.
Time was not enough for the undisputed Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths to execute her set the way patrons would have preferred, but the Electric Slide singer danced and sang her way into the hearts of many, which made it difficult for her to leave the stage when her time was up.
The Strong One, Etana, made her presence felt at the festival and showed that the new addition to her family has not slowed her down in executing her mission to continue thrilling fans with her soothing reggae hits.
Promoter and entertainer Tony Rebel was brief in his performance, but it was sufficient to showcase his versatility and allow him to balance his roles on and off the stage.
Great concert, new venue, excellent festival