Stellar performances from local acts rocked the stage of Shaggy and Friends on Saturday night. The charity concert, which was last staged in 2009, returned with a bang.
It seemed like almost all the top names in the reggae and dancehall world showed up at Jamaica House to assist the effort in raising funds for the heart-care facilities of the Bustamante Hospital for Children. Young acts to veterans performed and worked seamlessly on stage to please the large crowd that turned out. Platinum and gold areas, which were the pricier of tickets, especially appeared to have a large turnout as persons mingled and ate from the well-stocked food area.
The show kicked off shortly after 8 p.m., with the man of the hour Shaggy himself, who titillated the crowd with his gyrating waist. He then invited Tarrus Riley on stage for their collaboration, Another Girl. After doing a brief set, which included his hit She’s Royal, Riley soon exited the stage, but would return throughout the night alongside Shaggy as the host of the event.
Romain Virgo came on next and introduced singer Tami Chynn who ‘hyperventilated’ before inviting her husband Wayne Marshall. Marshall sang about ‘messing with his heart’ and called on deejays Tifa and Future Fambo. The three did an interesting set of mixed songs before ending with their monster collaboration, Swaggin’ (WTF).
Grammy winner Deniece Williams, one of three overseas acts of the night, gave a good set, which included the popular Hear It For The Boys, and It’s Gonna Take A Miracle. Maxi Priest and Shaggy delighted the crowd with That Girl, after which Priest showed that his vocals were still strong with Wide World and A Little Closer.
Rapper Eve was well received by the younger crowd with Who’s That Girl and Blow Your Mind. Half Pint followed before dancehall took the forefront with Assassin and Gyptian. Mr Vegas mixed a little gospel into his act before dancing with Tek Weh Yuhself.
Shaggy came back on with his recent single, Sugarcane, and invited Tessanne Chin for a little touch of soca-like vibe. Cocoa Tea thrilled the audience and set the tone for I-Octane and Stephen Marley who followed. Marley opened with No Cigarette Smoking, but it was when he called on brother Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley that the crowd went wild. The two did The Mission and Jah Army before Junior Gong deejayed Liquer Store Blues.
Beres Hammond was one of the stand outs for the night, as even though it was getting late, patrons were on their feet after a long night to enjoy the crooner. They sang along word for word with Rockaway, Double Trouble and I Feel Good.
After a long night of back-to-back performances, there came the first band change to accommodate the anticipated closing act, Lauryn Hill. The band change, however, took much longer than expected and at 2 a.m., there was still no sign of Hill as patrons began chanting the singer’s name.
When the singer finally took the stage, she went into her hit single, Killing Me Softly. A number of patrons could be seen exiting the venue. Her Everything is Everything had a few persons singing along, but not for long, as slowly the venue emptied. After 3 a.m., when The Gleaner left, Hill was still on stage with a few loyal fans opting to stay and watch her perform.