There is no camera angle that could fully capture the massive crowd that turned out for The Gleaner's Icons Concert at South Parade in downtown Kingston on Saturday night.
People lined the street between South Parade and Sir William Grant Park, from the church all the way down to the end of the road. While the people were tightly packed on the street, there were others who tried to get a view of the concert from walls and fences, while others took their spot in the bus area and in the park.With some people making their way to the front of the stage from as early as 7 p.m., the concert finally got started at 9 p.m., with hosts Bambino and Stacious.First to take the stage was upcoming artiste Tidal, who was followed by Festival Song Competition finalists Old and New and Nazzle Man. There was also a performance from the competition’s winner, Abbygaye ‘Abby’ Dallas, who sang Real Born Jamaican.
Soon after, Peter Metro got on his knees as he sang a song about the national heroes, which was well received. Gospel artiste Carlene Davis got the crowd singing when she did classics like This Island Needs Jesus, Days of Elijah and My Forever Friend Ken Boothe also entertained the crowd when he sang Moving Awayand Everything I Own, which got one of the first “pull ups” for the night. But it was Tanto Blacks who came with his usual antics. Jumping on stage and shouting his lyrics, Tanto Blacks got a bit quiet after he fell. He then gave one of his cronies a lot of time on the microphone, thereby shortening his time and ended with Cow Foot Gal.Omari followed and had the crowd singing along to Help. His short set also included popular songs like Why and Jehovah Guide Me. Prodigal Son came after and pleased the audience with Head Caan Hot So.
Spice, who had the crowd behaving wild before she even took the stage, was in her element as she took the stage with Nuh Fight Ova Man. She teased with Ramping Shop, but reminded the audience that she had to keep it clean. She resonated well with the crowd when she did Dear Honourable that mentions the higglers who have to hustle on the ground. She did Jim Screechie, before calling on Baby Trish who got a lot of “forwards”.Claiming that she felt too feminine to do a Bounty Killer tribute, Spice swiftly removed her blond wig to expose her braided hair. She changed from a colorful blouse to a black jacket, then donned her dark shades to sing Look Into My Eyes and Ready Fi Dem that were accompanied by movements resembling those of Bounty. During her performance, several LIME girls on motorbikes rode through the large crowd to the front of the stage.Elephant Man was his usual energetic self and, of course, found himself on the sound boxes. He did a couple songs then sang his tribute to Bounty Killer in the form of their single together, This Is How We Do It.
“Big-up to Bounty, big-up to Beenie, but big up Kartel behind bars same way,” he said, before doing Signal Di Plane.He then asked for a fat girl to come on stage. “Mi waan yuh run and jump pon mi,” he said. But when she followed his instructions, they both fell. He teased with Siddung Pon It, but requested dimmed lights for Bad Man. While doing Dash Wata, he went to the barriers to interact with the audience and gave the security more work to try and control the crowd.
DeMarco came after and got ‘gun salutes’ for True Friends. Duppy Know Who Fi Frighten, Sort Dem Out and Fallen Soldier also got good reception. But the real showstopper was Ninja Man, who got the people riled up as he went on stage with his signature pose. As he said the words “Ninja Man get mad again”, the crowd was in a frenzy. “Him hot again eeh … old and ugly and bad same way,” he said, as he told the audience that he had two more shows to attend for the night.He did a song with General B about his incarceration and followed that with Border Clash. Predator then grabbed the microphone and sangNah No Head, but Ninja Man asked: “So a wah dem deh pon di people dem?” Ninja Man also sang Bad Man Can’t Make Love and did a spicy impromptu stint with Stacious.
Swinging from left to right, Bounty took the stage with Ready Fi Dem. Churning out hits after hits, he did songs like Book, Sufferer, Anytimeand Caan Believe Mi Eyes.”Nuff a unuh have unuh deejay but who deejay fi unuh? A me seh tek mi career and leave mi rear … Dancehall a gwaan good but mi nuh hear the struggle inna di music from weh day,” he said.Changing subject from the people’s plight to the women, he did Good To Go, The Greatest and Wine Fi Di General, before closing his set withNuh Fren Fish.