Birdie in full flight
Illness might have slightly clipped The Birdie’s wings, but he was in full flight on Saturday night.
With an arsenal of hits spanning almost six decades to steer him, no walking cane could keep the Mighty Sparrow from soaring. His voice was crisp and clear, and he even did a little wine on the stool for the benefit of the crowd.
From the time host Admiral Nelson announced his name, people in the modest crowd were on their feet applauding him and that level of respect was maintained throughout the night until the end of the show.
Sparrow took to the stage around 10:23 and invoked some reverence with his rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, which was well-received. It was the Sparrow people have grown to love from there on – cheeky lyrics as expected – but he was most orderly.
In addition to the legendary “truthful excuses” The Birdie gave in Lying Excuses, Sparrow moved people to dance around in the Gym and sing along to or part thereof to hits like The Lizard, Drunk And Disorderly, Congo Man, Saltfish, Obeah Wedding, Mr Walker, Both O’ Dem and Philip My Dear. It was after the last, which finished around 11:30 p.m., that patrons thought the show was over.
It turned out to be a short break in performance, ill-timed as it was. During that time Sparrow was presented with tokens by Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley and patron for the evening, Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell. Both officials were part of the welcoming party at the airport last Wednesday when The Birdie arrived in Barbados and those presentations could easily have been done then. Presentations were also made in that segment to show producer Eleanor Rice and Worrell’s wife Monica.
The show continued with the singing of Education after that, and shortly thereafter Sparrow asked his longtime friend and night’s supporting act Gabby to join him on stage. The level of respect patrons had for both artistes was quite evident at that point. Obviously not rehearsed, it was choppy at best but patrons showed their appreciation for getting to hear pieces of favourites like Doh Back Back and Bendwood Dick.
A curve was thrown when Gabby told Sparrow that the popular Ovaltine jingle was the song he most wanted to hear. They played around with it before Sparrow said he had forgotten it. The choice of song was curious given the stories coming out of a concert years ago at The Globe Cinema, where there was reportedly a lot of fallout from patrons because Sparrow sang the said jingle.
When Gabby left, The Birdie finished up the evening with Only A Fool and My Way, which Sparrow said was constantly in his head during his hospitalisation last year when he lapsed into a diabetic coma.
Sparrow was ably supported by the youngsters in the Arthur Smith Primary School Choir, who did a good job with their medley featuring some hits from Sparrow, Gabby and David Rudder. Gabby was in his element and entertained with favourites like Jack, Dr Cassandra, Hit It and Culture. Trevor Dynomite Eastmond brought some comic relief during his segment on stage.