Redemption Live is the 6th annual Digicel Sponsored Bob Marley celebration concert. Last year it was a free show but this year there is a small entrance fee of JMD 200. The venue is Sabina Park, a sports stadium. The flyer says showtime is from 4 pm until 11 pm. We have no intention whatsoever to believe this. 4pm is way too early for showtime plus Sizzla is on the flyer and no way he will be performing as early as 10.30 pm. We decided to go to the show at 8pm. Outside the venue cars line up for parking, vendors are selling the usual wares and there is food. Inside the venue is not even 1/5th full. We later heard that there was indeed a waiting line at 4 pm (for a short while) to get in. It appeared that a large number of tourists took the starting time on the flyer very seriously and showed up at 4 pm sharp. We'll see if the show ends at 11 pm. We hang around outside the venue for a while to take in the atmosphere. At about 9 pm I hear Khelissa on stage and we go inside (well, not really inside of course but on the cricket field). Bongo Herman is up next with his signature showcase with him singing some reggae classics and playing percussion on all kind of utensils like pots and pans.
The venue is just great. Lovely grass with people sitting on it, something you rarely see at a Jamaican Stage Show. And there's even more seating because the entire sitting area of the stadium is open for the public.
Next up is Ikaya who I remembered from her hit song Hard Way. Iba Mahr follows with a good set and a first decent reaction of the crowd when they hear Diamond Socks. During the first band change Stone Love sound blesses up the place. On to Morgan Heritage.
The Royal Family of Reggae took a brake for a couple of years to work on solo projects but they are definitely back with their 2015 album Strictly Roots nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy award. They start their set with How Come, a classic song in which they pose some very pointed questions about Jamaican society. It is in this tradition of militant music that Chronixx would later inscribe himself with a song like Smile Jamaica. The Morgan Family plays a great set and the crowd responds accordingly.
Tanya Stephens is up next with a relatively long set, followed by Nesbeth who gets a big forward for his song My Journey, the hit song of the moment. Leroy Sibbles then, who reminds us that we've got to live some life before we're cold. Point taken. Cocoa Tea starts of in Nyabinghi fashion and moves on to a wonderful version of I don't want to wait in vain. Bugle, who is up next, is an impressive live singer with his booming baritone voice. He invites Assassin on stage. And what do you know: it's midnight. Did you really think this show was going to end at 11 pm?
I didn't really get a chance to take pictures before because of the super large VIP area fenced off right in front of the stage but the gate man is gone so we have a look there when I-octane performs. A good set indeed, but it's really a party when Sizzla hits the stage. He goes through his unbelievably impressive hit catalogue and the crowd goes wild. He does his take on Coming in from the Cold. First time I heard Sizzla sing a Bob Marley song. I don't want to think about going back to the cold (climate) yet, so I try not to.