Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer
Western Bureau:As 2013 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival moved towards its final crescendo at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium on Friday night, the likes of Michael Bolton, Mary J. Blige and Etana made sure that patrons received more than their money's worth at the music event.
The diverse presentations took the audience on an awe-inspiring journey that has become synonymous with the international show.
From reggae, soca to blues, soulful classics and R&B, time was not sufficient to explore the depths of the music catalogue that the main acts possess.
Matching the success of last year's staging that saw Celine Dion gracing the stage was a difficult task to accomplish, but the organiser's choice to host the legendary Bolton fared well with the audience, most of whom are loyal fans of his music.
Bolton made the presence of Celine Dion felt with a duet he did with singer and songwriter Kelly Levesque.
The two did a rendition of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli's The Prayer that electrified the stadium and sent it into ear-piercing screams and shouts of approval.
If one had not seen Kelly onstage, the voice of the blonde, slim-built singer could be mistaken for that of Dion.
The two went on to do How Can I, among others, to the delight of Bolton's fans. Two outfits later and with a skilful saxophonist, Michael Lington, who kept the audience adequately entertained, Bolton unleashed his hit factory on patrons, who never grew weary of singing along with him.
Multiplatinum-selling artiste Mary J. Blige unmasked the challenge of performing after Bolton and closed the show with sheer brilliance and class.
Her interactive set with fans underscored why she continues to connect with an audience through her music.
She seduced fans with her powerful vocals as they willingly sang word for word on most of the tracks she performed.
She brilliantly transitioned into her hits from the '90s to present, and showed why she is the only artiste to register Grammy wins in R&B, rap, gospel and pop.
A liberated reggae princess, whose infectious vocals generate a mesmerising presence onstage, is embodied by Etana, who made a strong entry on to the Jazz and Blues stage with her song Free.
On the heels of launching her Betta Tomorrow album in February of this year, Etana wasted no time to introduce new material to fans that happily welcomed her songs and listened intently as they sought to catch the messages.
Of course, she could not deliver her set without Wrong Address, and the intent of her message was not lost as she preached a Betta Tomorrow and Jah Jah Blessing.
Barbadian-born saxophonist Arturo Tappin could not be contained throughout his 40-minute set that saw him jumping into the crowd to create a more personal interaction with music lovers.
He gave everything and showed he had more in the tank as he performed songs such as Everything by Ne-Yo and Pitbull.
He had the crowd going while doing Vybz Kartel's Ramping Shop and Sizzla's Dry Cry before he covered Damian Marley's Affairs of the Heart and Popcaan's Only Man with his saxophone.