Beres surprise lights up Startime return
After a six-year hiatus, Startime made a triumphant return to the local stage show listings and even though the concert was scaled down for its resurrection night, the entertainment value was not.
The Startime stage has played host to a long list of reggae royalties and Saturday night was no exception.
Startime had an all-star line-up, which included some of the greatest and most distinguished faces (and voices) of Jamaican music who all brought their A-game. Startime was a thrill from start to finish.
Patrons turned out in their numbers to help herald the revamped event and groove to some classic reggae music.
Even though the crowd was mainly composed of a generation which grew up with what has come to be known as original reggae music, there were still a few youths in the crowd and everybody seemed to have had a great time.
Among Startime's impressive line-up were George Nooks, Derrick Morgan, and Big Youth who gave an eccentric performance filled with wild antics and social commentary. Each artiste thrilled the audience in a different way and proved their worth as seasoned performers.
Ken Boothe was one such performer. The reggae crooner opened his set with his famous reggae rendition of Everything I Own and from the get-go there was not a still body inside Liguanea Club.
Everybody was rocking in a way that only the infectious beat of classic reggae music could incite.
This was the case throughout the night as patrons were lured into a dancing and/or singing session by the live music and powerful lyrics that were being recited for them.
Boothe himself, like all the other performers, was energetic onstage and showed that he still had some pep in his step by demonstrating some of his unique dance moves.
At one point, it seemed like some of the younger spectators did not appreciate Boothe's performance as one young lady was heard asking "him ago sing another song? Afta nobaddy doan remember dem song here".
Boothe then delivered hits like I Don't Want to See You Cry, The Girl I Left Behind, Moving Away and Puppet on a String and that same young patron was heard singing along and dancing with the rest of the audience who particularly enjoyed that section of Boothe's performance.
Introduced as the queen of reggae', Marcia Griffiths also gave an exciting performance. Dressed in white, the reggae songbird belted out some of her reggae tunes and even went into a brief DJ session when she performed Fire Burning/Half Idiot, which originally featured Cutty Ranks.
The big surprise
After an exciting performance of Electric Boogey, which involved a few patrons gracing the stage to perform the dance (rather poorly according to Griffiths' reaction), it was then time for the unexpected.
Earlier, the host of the event had mentioned seeing Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor backstage which gave the crowd the impression the artistes were supposed to perform.
Marcia sought to clear the air by letting patrons know that the reggae luminaries were only there as patrons themselves, much to the audience's dismay.
Eventually though, the crowd convinced Griffiths that if Hammond and McGregor were not going to bless the night with solo performances then they had to do duets with her.
The crowd went wild as Hammond took the stage and the artiste delivered a passionate performance of Live On alongside Griffiths. Patrons were in euphoria, becoming Hammond's chorus and back-up dancers.
Hammond left the stage after teasing the audience with a snippet of Pull up the Vibes.
The crowd again erupted as McGregor, who just released his 36th studio album Di Captain, joined Griffiths on stage. The two stalwarts performed United We Stand and the audience once again danced and sang along.
This was not the end of the duets for Griffiths as the crowd also begged for Bob Andy, who also attended the event as a spectator.
The duet gave a passionate rendition of So Long which was followed by the Bob and Marcia's hit cover version of Young, Gifted and Black.
The king of ska, Derrick Morgan, was introduced after Griffiths and one patron was heard exclaiming "a dance time now".
Unfortunately, before Morgan really had the chance to deliver, many of the patrons began leaving the concert as there was a light drizzle, which warned of impending rain.
Despite the rain dampening the vibes, Startime brought New Kingston to life with the sound of music - intoxicating, body-swaying and honest-to-God reggae music. Throughout the night, the artistes praised the producers and Wray and Nephew for reviving the mega concert.