There's something about Beres

Sunday, April 03, 2011    

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There is definitely something about veteran reggae crooner Beres Hammond, which makes patrons feel like they are seeing him for the very first time, everytime he steps onto a stage.

Another of those moments occured just two Saturdays ago when he was the headline act at a fundraiser organised by the Ardenne High School Parent Teachers Association of which he is a member.

The event, billed Beres and Friends, saw the raspy-voiced singer giving another of his signature splendid performances which offered a peek into his 30-plus year-old catalogue of hits.

Stepping up to centrestage at just after 11:00 pm, he drew wild screams, unbridled appreciation, a rush to front of stage and set of a blitz of flashbulbs as the predominanly female audience sought to acknowledge his presence and capture the moment for posterity.

He wasted no time in getting down to the business at hand — singing the music patrons had waited patiently on the greens of Ardenne to hear. What Can You do to stop a Man, Step Aside, One Dance, She Loves Me Now, Falling in Love, Come Back Home, Your Eyes — a rarely performed tune — and Tempted to Touch, were delivered with ease and composure, much to the delight of the fans in the audience.

In his minstrel-like manner he sang as he greeted his audience and held light conversation, drawing the patrons so much more into the performance, and making them feel part of the evening's entertainment.

During the Tempeted to Touch performance, Hammond with a hint of rhetoric in his voice asked, "Can I song some more songs for you?" Without a doubt the response was

an unrepentant and resounding "yes!" and that he did.

With Hammond performing like it was his last, one could easily forget that the event was titled, Beres and Friends. This was brought home when reggae singer Tony Rebel appeared on stage. Again there was the flurry of flashbulbs as both crroners shared the stage. Rebel rode the Tempted to Touch rhythm offering his breakout hit, Fresh Vegetable. Upon Rebel departure, the audience was treated to another surprise as Hammond then welcomed on stage a artiste he referred to as Popeye.

Again another blinding moment with the flash bulbs and a deafening choir of screamers was set off as King of the Dancehall Beenie Man stepped up to the plate. Wickedest Slam, Ole Dawg and his chart-topper I'm Okay/ Rum and Red Bull were part of his repertoire of the night.

The departure of the friends onnly made more time for Hammond to offer more of his signature tunes. Double Trouble, Putting Up Resistance, Sweet Lies, No Disturb Sign Love Means, and I Feel Good, all flowed from the well-spring of the Beres Hammond catalogue.

He then offered some of his smoother R&B fused hits from the '70s and early '80s -- I'm in Love With You Without Control, If Only I Knew and One Step. This allowed the older Hammond fan to enjoy the performance even more.

At the end of a scintilating two -hour performance, patrons strolled out of the venue fully satiated and ready for the next Beres Hammond gig.

— Richard Johnson




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