Shaggy and Friends 2016 awesome performances for a great cause
Buzzebly Entertainment Reporter
With all the fanfare that a initiative like this one deserves, Shaggy and Friends 2016 came to a close a little after 2 a.m on Sunday the 3rd January. However it was on the previous day the real fireworks started on the lawns of Jamaica House, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Jamaica, a fitting setting considering the magnitude of the occasion. This concert, organized by the Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation, was the fifth time it had been staged and previously had donated the proceeds of the now biannual event towards the completion of the first diagnostic Catheterization Laboratory at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, the only full service pediatric hospital in the English speaking Caribbean.
So it was against this backdrop the night was framed. The spirit of charity was in the air for all who attended from the patrons to the production personnel, the performing artistes to even the ancillary staff everyone was aware of why they were present and how important their presence was. The concert itself, began promptly at 8 and had a sizable attendance at the onset with Tanto Metro and Devonte kicking off the proceedings. The duo went through their slew of hits with little reaction from the crowd, the majority of which were still making their way inside the venue. They then handled off the mic to the man of moment Shaggy who took his time to serenade his guests with a mix of his older chart toppers and his most recent singles including last summer’s Billboard hit ‘Habibi (I Need Your Love)’ even inviting the producer, and co feature on the track, Costi Ionita on the stage to sing alongside him.
Next up was a another Jamaican chart topper, Omi; he who strangely up until this point had never performed in front of an Jamaican audience. Despite that Omi charmed the crowd with his current single ‘Hula Hoop’ before thrilling them with his Billboard number one single from 2015 ‘Cheerleader’ before exiting the stage. Still in somewhat of a fog of food and drink, the audience only began to really liven up after Ding Dong and his Ravers Clavers crew touched the stage with an assortment of dance moves and steps. This especially brought up the energy levels of most who were present and more than any other of the previous performances setup the rest of the night.
Rock City had the next slot and largely delivered, reeling off song after song that the brothers had crafted for other acts such as ‘Pour it Up’ (Rihanna) and ‘Only’ (Nicki Minaj) and ‘I Don’t Mind’ (Usher) before ending with their current smash single ‘Locked Away’. Local fans were thrilled with appearance of Terror Fabulous on the stage, who gave a solid performance considering his current physical and mental condition. They were even more pleased when songstress Nadine Sutherland joined him on the stage to perform ‘Action’, their duet together, and a few her own songs from the early nineties. Previously unannounced as a performer Sean Kingston took the stage after brief interlude and did quite well engaging the patrons who by that time had seemed all to be in their places for the night. His set albeit brief, highlighted his ability to entertain. The ladies of En Vogue showed off their singing talent and choreography. The harmonies were so pure and full that they sounded almost exactly as they would have on a CD. ‘Free Your Mind’, ‘Never Gonna Get It’ and ‘Don’t Let Go’ really brought out nostalgic feelings and by the final song had the entire venue singing word for word. Ashanti playfully teased the audience with her set. Dancing and generally having a good time on stage running through her solo hits and features. A performance she ended with her debut and maybe her most popular single to date ‘Foolish’.
Gospel act Kevin Downswell really moved the spirit of the pious during his performance and connected well with the band. Another who connected well with the band was Bugle who gave a mature performance, effortlessly delivering ‘Excerise’, ‘Don’t Blame Life’ and his newest track ‘Rasta Party’ while exuding a confidence that was simply not there earlier in his career. Popcaan delivered in a way that has been previously unseen by most of his fans. He took his time and controlled the entirety of the stage. The climax of his set came at the end when he seemingly had the crowd in a trance with the hypnotic ‘Everything Nice’.
Finally to close the proceedings, Shaggy enlisted the help of Beenie Man and boy did he deliver. Beenie put on a masterclass mixing eras, soliciting responses from the patrons and even calling Ashanti on the stage to do a little singing and dancing with him. Beenie Man feigned to exit the stage several times only to come back when he heard that now capacity crowd screaming for his return. Beenie even had two of his kids joining him on stage both of which led to hilarious outcomes. A true mark of this man’s skill was that nobody even attempted to leave the venue during his set only doing so when it was obvious enough that Beenie has left the stage for good. Ity and Fancy Cat, Bambino, Mrs Kitty and Delano from Renaissance all did their best to keep the show moving forward in between acts and band changes. By the end of the night, the look on all who attended faces showed deep satisfaction of not only what they witnessed but the contribution they each made to the Bustamante Hospital for Children on this night.