Date: Saturday 18th February 2006
Location: The Global Village (Savannah), Trinidad
Promoter: Machel Montano & Xtatik
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We stopped by the venue, The Global Village in the Savannah, during the day and we thought they'll never get finished setting up in time. But when we reach the concert later that night, everything looked well organized. There was people everywhere ... as far as de eye could see was people. We hear there were 12,000 people there. Wow! This venue choice was a great idea because there wasn't crazy traffic to drive in and out, and there was ample parking in and around the Savannah.
We must start off by saying that the concert was excellent. By the time we cleared backstage access (special thanks to AC4 management crew), the opening act, Kes the Band, had about 15-20 mins left to perform. But, what a 15-20 mins we got! Kes was energetic and during their act, he brought on local reggae star, Isasha (Don't You Know), Nadia Batson (One Island), and TnT's boy sensation group Surge (In Your Timin' Girl) who all electrified the massives.
Up next was The Alison Hinds Show. When Alison came on - she put on quite a performance, representing the Bajans to the max. She had two young and sexy backup dancers, who obviously knew how to Roll It ... and roll it real good! But then she brought out a fella for the ladies. Well, the ladies start to scream as he lift up his top and show his six-pack abs and then it was more screams when he flip into a hands-stand and give Alison an upside-down wine. The man name is Leon and we're sure plenty lonely women went home and dream him later that night! Alison sang all of her Square One hits ... crowd favorites like "Faluma," "Togetherness," and of course, "De iron have meh sooooo bazoodee"!
KMC came out with his Red, Black & White Band next, and pretty much mash up the dance. All you heard as they made their way to the stage was, "We're in Trinidad, Trinidad, Trinidad, Trinidad, Trinidad.... everybody jump up... Carnival coming ... The Season is Mine!" Nuff forwards! The crowd went mad when he started singing all his 2006 releases like 3 Miles. Both Iwer George and Maximus Dan performed along side KMC's band. All you could see, as far as the eye could carry yuh vision was flags waving and people carrying on.
By the time Machel Montano came on, the crowd was already hype from the other great performances, and he didn't let us down. One thing about Machel, he makes the audience feel like they are a part of his show. Like it's his people and the people love him. He showed his humanity when he had the crowd lift a man in a wheelchair from inside the General Admission, which was packed tighter than Brunswick's sardines in a can, and pass him to the front to stay on stage for the rest of the show. Nice gesture, and it went well with the theme of the night ... "All Together" ... "AT" .. "AT" ... "AT"!!!
Machel started his set with chutney star, Drupatee, singing "Real Unity," with some gorgeous Indian women in the background performing some sexy, but classy dancing. The crowd loved this performance and we must say, you could really feel the togetherness of the people during this song. He brought out various other artistes, including Andy Singh (O Larki), the girl who sang Jambalassie (sorry we can't remember her name right now), Zan and Patrice Roberts (Always Be), Alison Hinds (Roll It Remix) and Benjai. What we truly liked about all these performances was that the people showed real singing talent.
Ironic enough, when Benjai and Machel started to sing popular tune "Amnesty (Rah Rah)," which is about peace and amnesty, some idiots in general admission started to fight. It was a beautiful message and hopefully the point came across to those that were actually listening. Also a nice moment, was when Lord Kitchener's son, now the drummer for Xtatik, Kernel Roberts sang one of his father's classic songs.
Adding to the global concept were Jamaican Reggae artists Mr. Vegas (Dance With You Reggaeton Remix, Genie Wine) and Mr. "Oh-No!" Red Rat (Shelly-Ann, Tight Up Skirt), who really came out to please. From the minute each of them hit the stage, you could feel their energy and the vibe from the crowd loving the music. Another highlight of the night was Japanese sensation, Minmi, who is helping Soca music spread to worldwide heights. She performed her tune, "Summertime," and we hope they felt the love from us Trini's and that they continue to promote Soca music. You know she couldn't leave the stage without Machel asking her to show Trinidad how to wine!
One of, if not the high point performance of the night was Wyclef, who arrived on stage riding a motorcycle. The crowd went mad, plenty screaming and carrying on. He and Machel gave a brilliant performance. "Iz Carnival ... Iz Carnival ... and we are the Survivors!!" You could really feel the love Trini's showed for this Haitian native. Wyclef showed his usual crazy antics as he made is way from the main stage over to one of the camera stands in the main crowd, as Machel shouted, "Bye bye".
The concert ended with a tribute to the late Onika Bostic. All we could say is that it was beautiful and people were visibly teary-eyed when the on-stage screens showed a hologram of Onika performing, while her and Machel's remix to "Forever" came over the speakers. Machel made particular mention to the end of the song, as he asked $hel $hoc to play back the end, so the audience could hear Onika's laugh and giggle. We all remember her laugh... it lit up the room!
So, there we have it folks... we had to spend time going over the concert in detail because that is what this night was really all about. We love the added stage props and extras... the violinists, steelpanists, moco-jumbies, dancers and the King Kong crew ... all very entertaining. And we cannot forget about Machel delivering all of his classic and new releases. VIP held on to the 'Big Truck,' General Admission got on 'Scandalous,' and Machel & Xtatik took 'Band Of The Year'! The performances were amazing and we hope Machel keeps up this Alternative Concept for years to come.
The only negatives we heard of on the night were about the VIP section, where many people left with their food chits and drink chits in hand because they could not get to the bar or food tables without significant wait time. Comments were even floating around about how much fun the bartenders were having dancing to the music while people were waiting to get their drinks. Not cool when you fork out VIP dollars!! And General Admission was worse yet. The bar buss... no drinks left! The surprise international guest artist was supposed to be Busta Rhymes, but we heard he ran into flight issues getting to Trinidad.
That being said, we cannot end this review on a negative note as the concert performances were brilliant ... yes, that's the only way to describe it ... brilliant! Alternative Concept is now a definite part of TJJ's Carnival experience moving forward. We left brainwashed, singing (in a slow melody), "We reach de stage ... we warming up ... throw yuh hands up in de air ......... we goin' and cross we gearin' up ... to take Band of D Year!"