The VP Records 2nd annual Memorial Day concert, held on Sunday, May 29 at the Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami, Florida pulled out a massive crowd. Concert-goers were treated to high powered performances from the likes of Beenie Man and Freddie McGregor. Other artistes on the massive lineup earned thunderous applause from the crowd during their respective time slots and represented themselves well. Among those were Luciano, Capleton, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Assassin and Elephant Man.
Before the big guns exploded on stage, patrons were treated to performances in the afternoon hours from up and coming acts including Big Yard recording artistes Kyenie, NYE (formerly known as Marsha), Aaron Silk, Tami Chynn, and Rising Stars’ 2004 finalist Candy.
Veteran reggae crooner Freddie McGregor was the first major act to hit the stage. McGregor’s act imparted class on the proceedings as he ran through hit after hit. What was most admirable about McGregor’s performance was that he interacted with the patrons, and he didn’t rush his songs. He sang word for word without the usual ‘wheeling up’ and ‘pulling up’ which is the norm at shows of this nature. He sprinkled his set with hits from back in the day to the present. His performance was appreciated as patrons sang along. His set was spiced with If You Wanna Go, Prophecy, Push Come to Shove, Big Ship, Revolution (a tribute to the late Dennis Brown), and Stop Loving You, Lock it Down, Just Don’t Wanna Be Lonely and Uncle Sam.
McGregor’s performance set the pace for Capleton who kept the fire burning with a blazing inferno of hits that had patrons all revved up. He dived into Or Wah before hitting social commentary with That Day Will Come. Turn It (Fire Time) from the Mad Instrument Dance rhythm saw the fireman demonstrate some new dance moves, including the Fire Box, Tyson and Upper cut. Consuming and Invasion proceeded Capleton’s crash course in literature and history lesson on culture. He came to a climax during his stint with the infectious Who You Calling Nigger.
MC Nuffy hit the stage with his usual antics, as he introduced Beenie Man. Just the mere mention of Beenie Man’s name sent the females rushing to the front of the stage. Row Like a Boat signaled the start of an entertaining performance. There seemed to be nothing that Beenie Man could do wrong, as the crowd rallied in his favour and sang along word for word to his hits both current and past.
From Toy Friend to Dude (where the females in the crowd filled in Ms. Thing’s vocals), Beenie Man was in top form. Crazy Notion from the Headache rhythm, the Bollywood rhythm hit Red Red Red, the 1990’s chart toppers Romie and Stop Living in the Past, and the Lady Saw combination The Healing, were just some of the nuggets that propelled Beenie Man. His lesson to the male members of the crowd on how to make love to their counterparts–although a bit suggestive–was well received.
Weh Yuh Nuh Fi Do, Breast Specialist, King of the Dancehall, Dance the Chaka, Chaka Tall and the recent number one hit A Nuh Mi (Frame I and I) put the lid on a brilliant performance from the dancehall kingpin.
Sizzla delivered the hits that he is known for. During his lengthy performance he was asked by stage personnel to curtail his performance to accommodate other performers due to the limited time. He was quite defiant at this request. His conscious tunes including Simplicity, Solid as a Rock, Rise to the Ocassion, Be Strong and Ain’t Gonna see Us Fall were his ammunition in his bid to maintain a connection with the crowd.
Assisted by his dance crew on stage, Elephant Man danced up a storm and climbed atop speaker boxes much to the delight of the crowd. He doused them with a string of hits including Blasé, Signal the Plane, Chaka Chaka Dance, and Pon di River, Pon Di Bank, before closing out his set with the now familiar We are the World.
Luciano’s cultural messages are always appreciated and at this stage show, it was no different. Luciano sang his way into the hearts of patrons as his messages rang loud. He got the ball rolling with Who Can it Be Now, and then sifted through the rubble to unleash Your World and Mine, One Away Ticket, Lord Give Me Strength and Sweep over My Soul.
In between the performances sound system selectors spliced in recorded music at various intervals. Supa Meng, Steelie Bashment, Mega Flexx, Island Star, Mighty Samson, Fire Links, Money D and Onkore were spinning the sounds.
Buju Banton and Assassin brought the curtains down with high energy performances at the 2nd annual VP Records Memorial Day concert. The show was promoted by VP Records in association with Jammin Productions and Rockers Island Promotions.