Eighty-one-year-old Yvonne Sobers was living her best life at Tarrus Riley’s annual Let Live Music Live free concert in Kingston on Wednesday night.
For almost every performer, the sprightly soul could be seen skanking away at the front of the stage, easily grabbing the attention of performers like Craigy T, Nadine Sutherland and Darrio.
Her retro moves complemented the live backdrop of kids running around and dancing, teens snapping moments and adults kicking their shoes off and grooving away like it was Friday.
In its one-year hiatus, this scene was a reminder of what this concert means to people. It seamlessly bridges generations while bringing people from different backgrounds together. It celebrates good talent (established or not), and it fosters an atmosphere of oneness, which is not a bad way to end the decade.
Returning to the show’s base at Emancipation Park, Riley spared no effort in gifting patrons with the crème de la crème in Jamaican music. With a cauldron of soulful singers, ‘foundation’ artistes and dancehall heavyweights, labelling it a decent line-up would be borderline disrespectful.
Return performer Romain Virgo received a thunderous cheer for his set, which saw everybody abandoning their seats to dance to songs like Wanna Go Home and Fade Away. But it was his performance of Dutty Man, led by child sensation Tashae Silvera, which heightened the show. The song, which denounces child predators, resonated with the concert’s mantra to promote a peaceful Jamaica.
According to crime statistics from the police, up to early last month, 1,101 people have been murdered in Jamaica this year – seven more murders when compared to a similar period in 2018. Among the murders were that of eight-year-old Shante Skyers of Sterling Castle Heights, St Andrew, whose decomposed body was found almost a week after she went missing.
Messages of peace also reigned in sets of Mr G, Bushman and the Morant Bay High School choir, which featured viral freestyler Britania Pinnock.
Kudos were given to Nadine Sutherland, who recently commemorated 40 years in music, and The Mighty Diamonds with 50 golden years.
Mortimer gave all the feels when he brought some acoustic vibes to the venue, performing tracks from his newly released Fight The Fight EP.
Singers Ghost, Dwayne Stephenson and Tony Tuff also had the crowd singing along with reggae music, and deejays General Degree, Govana and Chi Ching Ching balanced it out with some dancehall vibes.
I-Wayne was a sure crowd favourite and stayed true to his “fire burning” style, and Richie Spice delighted patrons with a medley of hits.
Newcomer Teejay was a pleasant surprise and maintained a clean set at the family-friendly affair, the same can almost be said about Dexta Daps who could not help but cater to the ladies through his abs-rubbing, waist-whining performance. He did, however, drop some gems before performing the inspirational track Leader, which features Masicka.
The show culminated with a scorching performance from Capleton, with a few words from Beenie Man before the curtains closed minutes to 1 a.m.
See highlights from the concert in the gallery below.
Riley, who upheld his role of hosting more than performing, was pleased with the staging and looks forward to next year.
“‘Just Love’ was the theme this year, which was a perfect way to end the year, and how we want to continue into 2020. I missed the show last year, but I always enjoy myself, and the people enjoyed themselves also which is good,” he said. “Mi respect every artiste and mi represent unity in music, so it wasn’t hard getting this line-up together. I do collabs with every artiste, and we always support shows put on by other artistes, so once dem available dem come through. It was a great night.”