A good night was had by all!
At least, that was the look of it at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on Wednesday night when the Digicel Reggae Festival featured its Vintage Reggae Show.
By 9 p.m. patrons were mingling, getting themselves into a comfortable party spot, before the first live band hit the stage just before 10 p.m.
The hundreds on the dance floor were scanting, gyrating and wining when Jamaican band Fab 5 hit the stage. Members, dressed in all white, did their popular tunes like Love Me For A Reason, Come Back and Stay and Sweet P, as the crowd soaked them in.
Those present included politicians on both sides of the political divide, among them Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, Minister of Housing Michael Lashley, former Opposition Leader Mia Mottley and St Thomas MP Cynthia Forde.
Biggie Irie, accompanied by Bajan background vocals, was the lone local act. And, he did not disappoint. Biggie, carrying the Barbados Flag, delivered hits like Ten Tons Of Love, Night Nurse, Do The Right Thing, 96 Degrees and Africa Unite.
Sweet singing Eric Donaldson followed Biggie Irie’s groovy performance. From the the moment he hit the stage, he was belting out hits like Land Of My Birth, Cherry Oh Baby, Peaches, Dangerous and Miserable Woman. Forty-five minutes or so later, it was Boris Gardiner keeping the nostalgia going with his favourites Red, Red Wine, Someone Loves You, I Want To Wake Up With You, Farewell and Let’s Keep It That Way. Dressed in a suit and taking full advantage of a doting crowd, the Jamaican veteran led them down lovers’ lane.
Then when Ken Boothe came to the stage, it was footworks: dancing with high energy. It was clear he came to party. But even with his 46 years’ experience in entertainment, he failed to hold the audience to the end of his stint.
His choice of songs and how he opted to deliver them left much to be desired. The legend sang the hits Freedom Street, Silver Words, Say You, Everything I Own, but couldn’t hold onto his audience.
It took the the back-in-time reggae songs, played by DJ Li’l Rick to hype back up the crowd and get them again into a dancing mood. Li’l Rick’s efforts successfully set the stage for headliner Barrington Levi, who had the crowd screaming even before he was visible. With the band playing his popular song Living Dangerously, he came to the stage at 2:30 a.m. to deliver a 45-minute-plus, high-energy performance that unfortunately ended prematurely.
The Jamaican artiste, referred to in entertainment circles as “The Canary”, had the crowd all to himself as they sang along with him. At one stage, he did not even have to utter one word during his performance of Work. The crowd opted to sing every word of it for him.
He also did Teach The Youths, My Time, Dancehall Rock, Black Roses and Here I Come much to their delight.
Fans were fully into his performance when suddenly during one of his songs the sound system was turned off. Authorities ended the show at 3:30 a.m., leaving fans upset at the way it was done. The show was scheduled to finish at 3 a.m.
Patrons said they it was “disrespectful” and that authorities could have at least let Levi end the song he was performing at the time. Other faithful fans complained that Levi never got to perform his popular unity song Vice Versa Love.