The 10th and final edition of Machel Monday came to a spectacular end last evening at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
The grand event – which is a signature experience created by veteran Soca Artist, Machel Montano – was attended by tens of thousands of curious fans and unwavering supporters, who have been teased for weeks with ads and social media snippets by this year’s closing theme, aptly called “The Wedding”.
Anticipation was at an all-time high by the time the pre-show ended, which included performances by Destra Garcia, Olatunji, Jamaican dancehall sensation Konshens, Jah Melody, Farmer Nappy and former Chutney Soca Monarch Ravi B.
The pre-show was followed by a stunning cultural dance opening with performers adorned in white, matching the dress code theme for the evening. By the time Dr Montano hit the stage around 9:40PM, fans were not left disappointed as he expertly moved through some of his top Soca hits, including “Like Ah Boss”, “Higher Than High”, “Big Truck” and “Miss Good Reputation”. Little did the audience know that they were in for quite the performing cast treat.
The Soca Star, who shocked the Soca world by marrying his long-time sweetheart, Renee Butcher, in an intimate ceremony last week at the Red House, pulled out all of the celebrity stops for his final event.
He cleverly took his fans on a trip around the globe, with guest performances from London-born entertainer Afro B, Mr Eazi of Nigeria, Toronto-based Soca heavyweight Kerwin Du Bois, Jamaica’s Tarrus Riley, New York’s Soca sweetheart Lyrikal, Grenada’s Lil Natty & Thunda and 3-time International Soca Monarch King, Voice.
Guest performances from US recording artists Blackstreet featuring Teddy Riley and Doug E Fresh were a certified highlight for the evening – much to the delight of the audience. Both award-winning acts took the masses down memory lane with such hits as “Don’t Leave Me” and “Hands In The Air” respectively.
Fresh, who is a longtime friend of Montano’s, even left the King of Soca speechless with a masterful 15-minute beatboxing display – reaffirming his title of “The World’s Greatest Entertainer”.
A hushed silence befell the National Stadium as Montano openly stated to his fans that he was ready to “marry” his new bride for the world to see. “If I could change as a man, there is hope. She doesn’t love the spotlight, but she loves me. This (stage) is all I know,” an emotional Montano explained to thunderous applause.
After a love-filled display of vow exchanges by Pastor Clive Dottin, the lovely couple was serenaded by gifted songstress Stacy Barthe with a touching rendition of “At Last” by the legendary Etta James.
By the end of the evening, the mood was joyous at the venue. Skinny Fabulous and Iwer George joined Montano on stage to round up the final Machel Monday with their Soca Hit “Conch Shell”, which has quickly gained momentum as a Road March contender for this year’s Parade of the Bands.