Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer
It was a festive affair and a night of top dancehall acts that took the stage at the 13th staging of the ever-popular G.T. Taylor Christmas Reggae Extravaganza stage show on Christmas night at Independence Park in Black River, St Elizabeth, but in the end it was I-Octane who really had the venue swinging with a superlative closing performance.
Octane showed just why he is regarded the best closer in the business, bringing the big crowd to its feet inside the venue, as he reeled off hit after hit, following excellent stints by Capleton and Ninja Man in combination.
The two ripped into their vast array of hits, pleasing the patrons, who were held in rapt attention as the two dancehall veterans traded songs.
Capleton was his inimitable self, blazing the fire in contrast to the sometimes comedic utterances of Ninja Man.
The Don Gorgon was not to be contained and had the crowd eating from his hands before "loaning" the microphone to a boy no older than eight years old. Calling the youth his grandson, the boy also had the crowd at his mercy.
Thrilling the audience
Before the dynamic duo worked the stage, Beenie Man was also in his element, thrilling the audience with several of his blockbusters. Despite Beenie's ability on the stage, it was clear many were waiting to see Bounty Killer, Sizzla Kalonji, and Octane.
The waiting masses were not to be disappointed.
Cham had been electrifying patrons with a slew of hits but stopped his set to call on his mentor. The venue went wild.
Bounty, decked out in his customary black, immediately jumped in with the mega hit Look Into My Eyes, a duet with Cham.
The crowd went wild but had another level to go when the hit, Another Level, struck another chord.
"2014 soon come suh me done wid di madness but not the badness," hollered Bounty, before reeling off a number of his well-known hits.
It was then up to Sizzla, who ran through several big tunes from his vast catalogue. Again the crowd was ecstatic.
But all that went before paled in comparison to the maddening welcome that was reserved for Octane.
Unleashing hits with the kind of class that woke even those who were asleep, Octane, not for the first time, proved he had come a far way in the business.
"St Elizabeth, look how far me come ... Look at me who used to open the show, now closing the show. Look how far I have come?"