Last week David Rodigan voiced his surprise that there were not too many Jamaicans present at the first free Reggae Wednesday show. As if to prove him wrong, Kingstonians came out in their numbers tonight for the second edition of Reggae Wednesdays. The Mandela Park amphitheater was packed to capacity when we arrived at around 9 pm. For the rest of the evening, we will be wandering around, watching some of the showtime, holding a vibes in a little bar where we can hear the music, checking the vendors for food, hailing up folks we know. And forgetting to take pictures mostly.
The show supposedly started at 5.30 pm so we missed out on some of the artists on the poster. When we arrived Nature just started his set with his hit songs Revolution, World Piece and Trying Man. Next is Jahmiel. I enjoy songs such as Gain the world (the song of the moment), True Colours and Real Father. Vershon follows with a short but energetic set, and the crowd is eager to hear Inna Real Life and Use to Hungry. Three young artists, all excellent songwriters and all singing about the day to day reality of ordinary Jamaicans and the things they have to face inna real life.
Iba Mahr serves up some of his hit tunes and gets a loud forward when he sings Diamond Socks. Patrons respond even more loudly when Iba Mahr invites Kabaka Pyramid and Esco Levi on stage.
But it is Capleton the crowd has been waiting for. The fireman goes through his impressive catalogue of hits and is cleary enjoying the central location of Mandela Park, in the heart of Kingston's Half Way Tree area. The performance is quite different from those I have seen in Europe. This is Jamaica after all, where any artist has to 'work' on stage and cannot just sing the first lines of a song and leave the rest to the public. Capleton closes Reggae Wednesdays with an impressive hour long set.
And then we witness that typical Jamaican behaviour of immediately leaving a venue when the last artist is done. One minute there's 2000 people in Mandela park, literally 5 minutes later the park is empty. We discuss tonight's performances some more in an outside bar and that's it for today