Shaggy's friends deliver

Observer senior reporter

Monday, January 08, 2018

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IT was a night of strong performances for a cause as the biennial fund raiser, Shaggy and Friends, unfolded on the lawns of Jamaica House in St Andrew on Saturday.

All acts gave a good account of themselves, but the lion's share of adoration from the thousands in attendance was reserved for the international artistes.

Barbados-born, US-raised rapper Doug E Fresh was the first to truly get the audience going. He brought the party to the venue by taking patrons on a music journey with selections which spanned reggae, dancehall, R&B, and hip hop. However, it was his beatbox skills which left the audience amazed.

With mere seconds to go before midnight and with no fancy announcement, the man which many paid thousands to see, British rocker Sting, appeared on the giant stage and launched into his popular hit Every Breath You Take. This sent many scampering for the perfect vantage point from which to take in this historic performance --- his first on Jamaican soil.

With minimal banter between track, Sting dropped Englishman in New York; Every Little Thing She Does for his wife Trudy, who was celebrating her birthday; Fields of Gold; Message In A Bottle during which he shared the stage with local deejay Agent Sasco, and the world premiere of Don't Make Me Wait with Shaggy. He would close his set with the monster hit Roxanne.

Many were left on a high and wanting more following his set considering some of the local favourites were not heard.

It was up to Wyclef Jean to make up and he did just that. When he took to the stage early Sunday morning. His animated and interactive set saw him showing his skills at singing, playing the guitar, and DJ-ing with the help of selector Delano Thomas of Renaissance Disco.

The former member of hip hop super group The Fugees, which also featured Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel, excited the now concert-weary guests with an eclectic mix of music which included cuts from incarcerated deejay Vybz Kartel.

Close home, the Trinidadian soca couple Bunji Garlin and his wife, Fay-Ann Lyons, brought their brand to the event. They had the audience, including those in the ultra-exclusive Platinum Section jumping and waving to the infectious rhythms.

The local acts all acquitted themselves well from opener Chris Martin to new-girl-on-the-block Shenseea, the witty Professor Nuts, an always fresh-sounding Wayne Wonder, the females' favourite Dexta Daps, Chaka Demus and Pliers, and the high-riding Adonia.

Perennial favourites Junior Reid, Third World, and Barrington Levy lived up to their reputations, as did Ding Dong and his Ravers Clavers squad.

Praises were never too much for Shaggy and his team, who continue to walk the walk and talk the talk in assisting the country's lone paediatric facility --- the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew.

In keeping with tradition, he kicked off the event dropping a number of his much beloved tracks.

Well produced and beautifully staged, the traffic into the venue seems to still be a niggle but that is understandable given the numbers attending.

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