Sumfest ends on high note

Observer senior reprter

Monday, July 23, 2018

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If Friday night of Reggae Sumfest belonged to the young turks, then on Saturday night the veterans made sure they were not out of the running for top honours.

Beres Hammond, Maxi Priest and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, headline acts for closing night of the festival at Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, gave brilliant performances.

Once Maxi Priest touched the stage, it was clear this was going to be a “Maxi Masterclass”. From the opening to closing note, it was all hits from his deep catalogue. Close to You, Wild World, House Call (made popular with Shabba Ranks), Best of Me, Prayer for The World, I Believe in Love, That Girl, and Some Guys Have All The Luck had patrons singing and dancing.

Half-hour later, Marley gave similar treatment to an eager audience.

For 75 minutes Marley, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday, dropped another impressive set. Drawing tracks from his albums as well as music from his father, Bob Marley, he could do no wrong on Beautiful, Affairs of The Heart, Nail Pon Cross, Kontraband (with Kabaka Pyramid), War, Could You Be Loved, Road to Zion, and the anthem Welcome to Jamrock.

A touching moment was the appearance of his eight-year-old son Elijah, who sang Stevie Wonder's I Just Called to Say I Love You, in dedication to his father.

The audience had already got their money's worth, but the man many had come to see was yet to take to the stage. Beres Hammond was allotted 90 minutes, but if the audience had its way, the singer would have stayed much longer.

Song after song sent the park into a frenzy. The hits many have come to know and love, such as Sweet Lies, No Disturb Sign, Step Aside Now, Rock Away, Putting Up Resistance, Feel Good and Play Some More, resonated throughout the venue early Sunday morning.

The task was up to Cham and perennial favourite Capleton to perform, but they were prepared and stepped up to the plate.

Cham was first, and despite a heavy exodus of patrons, he, his all-female band and two energetic dancers provided a treat for those who remained.

The same can be said for Capleton, who closed the festival. His 45-minute set was entertaining for battle-weary patrons.

Final night featured signature performances which have come to define Reggae Sumfest. Hawaiian star J Boog, Jesse Royal, Keznamdi, Fantan Mojah and Professor Nuts were well-received.

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