It was a rather historic and nostalgic moment for lovers of the 80s dancehall at the Mas Camp on Sunday, May 22 in Kingston, Jamaica. Dubbed “10 Giants of the 80s,” the show served up a lot more than 10 giants of that era.
The show, which did not have an on-time start due to the late arrival of the artistes (who had performed the night before in Mandeville), got underway at about 11:00p.m. Some patrons who were there from as early as 9:00p.m, however, did not watch the time as Black Scorpio, Stur Gav and Rockaway Movements sound systems kept them musically entertained with several selections from that era.
When the event finally got underway, veteran sound system operator/producer Jack Scorpio ‘vibed up’ the place with some of his early deejay recordings by DJs Sassafras with ‘Bubble Gum’ and General Trees’ ‘Mini Bus’, while dropping some longtime dance moves.
It was then onto the first advertised act of the night, Echo Minott taking the stage with ‘Lazy Body’. He went on to give the popular hit ‘What The Hell The Police Can Do’ among several others for which he was well applauded.
Up next was Flourgon with ‘Jump Up’. He then called up Daddy Lizard who now calls himself ‘Geico Lizard’ for a combined performance. They did their thing then made way for Little John (now Big John because of his size) who gave the audience ‘True Confessions’, ‘All Over Me’, Mud Up’ and ‘Clarks Booty’, among others. He then invited Tristan Palmer (not booked for the show) on stage, who did a few lines from ‘Entertainment Is A Form Of Enjoyment’ before teaming up to give an entertaining combined performance. Errol Scorcher (also not booked for the show) was next with ‘Tan Tuddy’.
This segment of the show was ‘fired up’ with the performance of King Yellow Man who had the place ranting and raving from he entered the stage. Attired in full red sweatsuit, matching cap and sneakers, the albino veteran had fans eating from the palm of his hand as he gyrated his body while giving them songs such as ‘Zunguzunguzen’, ‘Getting Married’, ‘Dedicated To You’, ‘Woman Ration’, ‘Mr. Fix It’ and a version of Fat’s Domino’s hit ‘Blueberry Hill’ which had patrons begging for more as he left the stage with ‘Three Nights A Week.’
Peter Metro was next, working a very fiery and entertaining set. He chided the gunmen who were killing off children, innocent and old people. He also gave it to some police officers who he said were acting worse than the gunmen. He then gave ‘History of Jamaica’, ‘Calypso Calypso’, ‘Nuh Put It Deh’, and ‘Police Inna England’, among others. Metro’s set was well received by the audience.
Burro Banton was next. The veteran, whose baritone voice is a recognizable fixture in the dancehall, did not hesitate to belt out ‘Teck A Set’ and ‘Boom Wha Dis’ as well as lines of some of his latest efforts.
After an intermission, which lasted for more than half an hour, the show resumed with Pinchers’ performance. Among the songs he did were ‘Bullet Proof Vest’, ‘Lift it Up Again’, ‘Enemies On The Borderline’, ‘Donovan’, Bandelero’, ‘Agony’ and ‘Champion Bubbler’ for which he got an overwhelming response from the audience.
He was followed by Admiral Bailey who during his performance brought on Tanto Irie and Twitch (who were not billed for the show) for a brief stint. He gave the audience ‘Yuh Tink Mi Did Done’, ‘God Pickiney’, ‘Jump Up’, ‘One Scotch’ and ‘Feel Like Dancing’, to the delight of the patrons.
Then came Junior Reid who did his thing (not billed for the show) with ‘Foreign Mind’, ‘One Blood’ and ‘Banana Boat Man’.
The most explosive part of the night went to the ‘don gorgon’, Ninja Man, who seemed to have again found the formula that once made him the most entertaining artiste of his era. Reeling off ‘One House A Gun’, ‘Border Clash’ and ‘Old Picture Frame’, among others, Ninja Man was in tip-top form. He brought on two veterans, Pad Anthony and Eek-A-Mouse, who did not do much in terms of performance, but were welcomed by some persons in the audience. Ninja Man forcibly removed himself from the stage twice but returned after overwhelming demands from the crowd.
Sugar Minott just didn’t seem to understand that when you go on stage as a veteran, you have to do so armed with tunes that helped to make your name a household one, especially when you have to perform after an act such as Ninja Man. He, however, delivered songs such as ‘Buy Out The Bar’, ‘It’s Best To Rise With A Smile’, ‘How Water Walk Go A Pumpkin Belly’ (in tribute to the late Tenor Saw), ‘Herbman Hustling’, ‘Never Gonna Give Jah Up’, ‘Vanity’, Jordan River’ and ‘Please Mr. DC’.
Sugar Minott also got ‘wicked’ with persons in the audience he claimed were running him off the stage and went on to ridicule a male patron whom he described as big “bald head man weh nyam pare pork.” He was unceremoniously ushered off the stage.
Mumma Nancy and her brother Brigadier were next. As the only female representing the 70s, Mumma Nancy stood out among the several male giants as she delivered a clean, cultural set. She was then joined by her mentor and brother Brigadier for a well appreciated combined performance. For persons who remembered the days of Jah Love it was total euphoria when the siblings did ‘Telephone Chalwa’ and used their tongues to do the up-tempo instrumental sound of the song ‘Love To Play My Banjo’. A young ‘briggy general’ who resides in England had patrons reminiscing about his father’s early days as he sounded just like Brigadier Jerry in his heyday.
The show was brought to a close with the combined performances of Brigadier Jerry, Charlie Chaplin and Josey Wales (who was a bit hoarse). It was so moving when they called up Daddy U Roy on stage for a brief stint. The performances of the veterans made patrons echo the sentiment “we want back the good old days.”
Special mention must be made of selector Tullucie who did an excellent job of mixing down the artistes on tracks, Black Scorpio, Stur Gav and Rockaway Movements who kept patrons on their dancing feet.
The other two stagings of Giants of The 80s which were held in Manchester and St. Ann were also very successful.
The next stagings of Giants of The 80s will be in St. James, St. Thomas and Westmoreland in July.