I would like to tell you a story of what “One Show Can Do.” There was much anticipation prior to March 23, 2002 about Grammy nominee Beresford Hammond coming to Hartford, CT. After a two-year absence from the area, people were very willing to do anything to see and hear this crooner soothe their musical wounds. He has been selling out arenas all over the country with this wonderful tour (“Music is Life 2002”) and The Webster Theatre in Hartford was the venue for this particular event. Many of the patrons were first time visitors. Though it’s one of the smaller venues for this tour, people were early, ready and willing to get their money’s worth. This is a change from a typical Reggae show. Most shows usually have a late start, but people were willing to wait for the big Grammy nominee. Beres is probably one of the most loved icons in the Reggae world.
The show got underway with Bo Jangles Muzik sound system doing the early juggling as the crowd entered the theatre. Mikey Jangles and his crew got the people in the right frame of mind by playing some of the best tunes that Reggae has to offer. The atmosphere was filled with nothing but positive vibes.
The Calbut Production Band under the leadership of multi-talented music genius Richard Calbut, took control of the stage and the audience. Linford Nugent, former singer for The Saints, was first in line. This gentleman started off with some sweet Jamaican melodies and went into some of his own materials such as “Time To Change” and “Love or Money.” Many know him as just “Brown Eyes”, which is also the title he named his album. The crowd rocked and sang with him to the end. He exited the stage to nothing but warm rounds of applauses.
The big time singer from Hartford was next. Everyone knew of John Holt, but there were people there that had never seen his son perform. Jr. Holt came onstage to a loud cheer from the audience. The younger Holt held his own, he had everybody on their toes with his tingling vocal range. All you could hear was “Oh my God, he sounds just like his father!” The best was yet to come; he tore the house down with his rendition of “Pina Colada” and “Stealing Love.” After a well-deserved encore, he came back and did a couple of his father’s classics. This was by far Jr. Holt’s best performance in Hartford. The entire crowd cheered as he finished up his set and told them goodnight.
Don Minott was introduced and did what was expected of him. He kept the place on fire by delivering his own arsenal of love songs and other conscious tunes from his self-titled album. He got a warm round of applause for his version “Paradise.” Mr. Minott continued to bless the people with his silky smooth voice before walking off to a big round of cheers from the audience.
After the brief intermission and some killer tunes from Mikey Bo Jangles, the crowd was amped to see the man of the hour. The venue was full of people from all different backgrounds but they all had one thing in common: they love Beres. The Harmony House Band was introduced and did an intro before the Harmony House Singers came on. These young ladies got the crowd warmed up. They sang some of the best female-driven tunes in reggae as well as their own tunes that were done for the Harmony House label. Other members in the Harmony House that performed were Ginja and Sadeki. Ginja gave a very dynamic presentation; his tune “War in a di City” was hot. Sadeki was no different; he showed that anyone who records on the Harmony House label is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The crowd was getting a little impatient–they couldn’t wait to see their favorite singer. He has been given many awards over his long career: Songwriter of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Producer of the Year, and mastermind behind the Harmony House label. After DJ Magnum introduced him, the crowd went into a frenzy. Beres Hammond walked on the stage with his famous cap, and a smile that made the women screamed for more. He turned around, looked at his band and backup singers, looked in the audience and the rest was history.
The man is one of the most beloved entertainers in reggae. He expressed his love back to the audience by serenading them with his arsenal of sweet love songs. He had the entire audience screaming at the top of their lungs. His rendition of each song was overwhelming, not to mention energetic and powerful. “Tempted to Touch,” One Dance,” “Rock Away,” “They Gonna Talk,” “Sweet Lies,” “Putting up a Resistance,” and the list goes on. He got so involved with the audience that he took time to joke and play little games with them. It was evident that he was feeling the vibes prior to his entry on the stage. He even switched roles and started to dance and DJ to the part of Buju Banton’s combination tune “Pull It Up.” He showed his expression and feelings for every song; he even went on to tell the women how special they are on this earth. This led to him letting us know that in everything in life, we must be thankful. He then went into the big finale “Giving Thanks.” The audience was appreciative and he was also happy for their appreciation. Mr. Hammond gave them almost two hours of straight ballads and musical harmony. He exited the stage to the biggest cheers and applause I’ve heard in a long time.
The show was brought to Hartford by MD ENT, AfroArt, and Webster Theatre. Big up to Mike Davis & Mikey Bo Jangles. DJ Magnum, Don P, and I were the MCs of this great affair. God Bless and One Love.