With many people awaiting one of the most anticipated shows for 2005, it was quite evident that this was to be the biggest show to hit Hartford in almost three years. Reggae fans from all over made all necessary preparations to embark upon such excitement. Over three months of good promotions via radio, television, newspapers, flyers, and word of mouth, the Connecticut Expo Center was the center of attraction on a very cool July 3rd Sunday evening. With fireworks and cookouts lighting up the atmosphere for the long holiday weekend, patrons were in for a treat by some of the top notch Caribbean entertainers. After all, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Lady Saw, Rupee, Zion, Diedre, Capital D, Kiprich, Little Kirk, and the Triple Threat dancers are all big-time superstars to the fans in Hartford.
The show was a little late getting started, but Magnum Sound kept the tunes blazing until everything was ready to groove. The first act is always the bravest of all, and Avalanche proved just that. He is dubbed as the best dancehall DJ in Hartford and was nothing short of showing it. He performed a well appreciated set and left the stage with a bunch of satisfied fans.
Brave Diedre followed. Known as miss hot stuff in the area, she used her looks and personality to her advantage. Her performance was done with a special female touch that was encouraging to other upcoming artists who were watching.
Zion got on stage and started to “bun the fire”. A true follower of Selassie, he made it clear that people must start living their lives free from corruption and nastiness. The audience responded in quite an uplifting manner and he left the stage a happy man. The Expo Center was getting hotter as we moved down the line up.
Heat came from the man who is known as “Mr. Caliente”. Having several international tunes and performances under his belt, Capital D was at his best. Coming off his latest video shoot (Gun boys) in Jamaica, he was amped to deliver his message to the audience. His arsenal included Life, Mothers Day Card, Legalize it, Shine ya Light, and many others. He even paid tribute to one of his mentors, Luciano. Capital exited the stage after a well appreciated set.
At this time excitement began to fill the air. While there was a live remote with Reggae Riddimz, Lex & Trevor took the time to introduce the next act. She is regarded as the Queen of the Dancehall and that was enough to send fans in an uproar. Lady Saw entered the stage in a classy white outfit, to the delight of of the fans. She got loud ovations and screams. Getting right down to business with her usual antics, Saw thrilled many of the fans with all her blazing tunes. Due to her raw adult rated lyrics, she had to tone it down for the younger audience that was enjoying her performance just as much. The place was in total frenzy when she proceeded with the hit tune “Backshot”. Connecticut first ever Dancehall Queen, better known as “Candy” joined her on stage as well as Specialist from Triple Threat Dancers. This diva continued to deliver hit songs at her audience’s request. She left the stage and was summoned back for an encore.
After a brief band change, Rupee was next to rock the house. He came on and went right to work for his soca-holics. Known for his up-tempo style and smooth lyrics, he had the fans at his fingertips. “Tempted to Touch” was of course the tune that got the most response. He took the time to introduce his band and then continued to please the audience. He left the stage with a round of cheers. This lead to a slight band change but the people needed some excitement to keep the adrenalin going.
Considered the best dance crew in New England, The Triple Threat Dancers represented in a huge way. Dancing to a barrage of hit songs that spanned from the early days of the “Bogle” to the “Willie Bounce”, they had the entire Expo Center moving. They did a special tribute to the late “Mr. Wacky”, a.k.a. Bogle. They left the stage with fans screaming for more.
With the hit tune “Telephone Ting” blazing up the top spot on the Reggae chart, Kiprich was up next and he did what he had to do to keep his audience happy. Not only comical throughout his performance, he touched on some serious social issues that’s causing hardship back in Jamaica. His good friend was to perform next.
Everyone now knows him as the “Energy God,” and all were waiting to see the reasoning behind the name. Elephant Man has been riding high on the Billboard charts with a few major hit songs. Many would argue that he is one of the main reasons they came to this event. Bursting on stage and jumping as high as possible, the place was in total mayhem. The Energy God gave us all the major hits and paid tribute to the other artists who helped him along the way. His most serious issue came when he addressed the rumors of him contracting the AIDS virus. He quickly dismissed the notion, stating that only time will tell for all those bad minded people talking about him. He continued to entertain the fans with Kiprich beside him and the fans loved it.
Time was running and the final act was about to enter the stage. The King of the Dancehall was armed and ready to take his throne. Beenie Man has stood the test of time while proving that he is one of the best ever in this music business. Always surrounded by controversy, whether by lyrics or actions, he is always on top of his game. The fans screamed all throughout his performance even though a few left from exhaustion. The Doctor gave the ladies exactly what they ordered. His on stage antics were enough to keep everyone in stitches. Beenie performed a full set but did not want to leave; after all, his fans were enjoying him too much. He finally got off at 2 a.m. to a satisfied group of people.
Overall, it was a great show for the 4th of July weekend, big ups go out to staff that helped to make it a success. It will be staged again next year for all the people who loved the performances. The hosts were Big A, Nikki D, Steve Love, Lex & Trevor, Phillip E, Don P, and Donovan. Special big ups to Magnum Entertainment, Quest Records, and Big N Mighty Productions for making this a reality; and Hot 93.7 for endorsing it.