Sanchez performing live at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew on Thursday. (Photos: Garfield Robinson)

LIKE the fabled Pied Piper of Hamelin, Sanchez captured guests and took them on a musical journey at his free live concert at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew on Thursday evening.

Some fans were obviously disappointed when the music ended.

"It done?!!" Clair Williamson, 34, exclaimed. "He's good. I've heard some of those songs on the radio before, and I never knew he sang them. I've never seen him perform before, but now I'm a fan."

Antoinette Jones, who gave her age as 23, shared Williamson's sentiments.

Flourgon (left) going through his paces while Richie Stephens (centre) and headliner Sanchez look on.

"He can sing. I like the songs. I never knew he was the one who did the reggae cover of some of those songs... and what I was impressed about is that he kept it clean," she said.

With his vast catalogue of songs, Sanchez held sway over an audience who clutched at his every word. Those who were unable to find seating had a whale of a time dancing at the side of the stage and other areas of the venue.

His score sheet included covers of Shai's If I Ever Fall in Love, Toni Braxton's Love Should Have Brought You Home, Surface's Never Gonna Let You Down, Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On, and Lobo's Don't Expect Me to Be Your Friend.

He dedicated part of his set to reggae legends Bob Marley and Dennis Brown with renditions of Coming In From The Cold, Three Little Birds, and Here I Come, respectively.

Members of the Christian fraternity were not left out. They were treated to uptempo Negro spirituals including Lay Down My Burden, Across The Bridge, Some Day I'll Go Where Jesus Is, and I'll Fly Away which transformed the venue into a church-like atmosphere.

Sanchez injected more star power into his performance with the introduction of Flourgon and Richie Stephens — and it worked like a charm.

Flourgon and Sanchez shared their 1980s hit, Love Mi Girl Bad, before the deejay gave the audience portions of Fresh, Agony, and We Run Tings.

Stephens did a well-received rendition of Dennis Brown's Love Gotta Hold On Me and Johnny Adams' Salt of The Earth (Let's Drink To The Hard Working People), before sharing the mic with Sanchez on their latest single, Double For My Troubles.

Sanchez (left) with former lead singer of the Heptones Leroy Sibbles playing the bassline to Pass The Kouchie.

Sanchez called former Heptones lead singer Leroy Sibbles from the audience to play his original bass line on Pass the Kouchie. Sibbles did not disappoint.

"It was just an honour to be here tonight. I'm here because of my fans, and because of [Entertainment] Minister [Olivia] Grange, and the whole fraternity. Whenever it's show time I just say a prayer, then set it, and forget it," Sanchez told the Jamaica Observer in a post-performance interview.

Grange — whose Ministry and Entertainment and Culture organised the event as part of Reggae Month celebrations — was pleased with the evening.

"It is important that we celebrate our music, and in celebrating our music we must celebrate our artistes, our singers, our songwriters and musicians. So, we came up with a series to have a particular artiste in concert and tonight we have Sanchez in concert, and it was such a great show. I think everybody enjoyed the show. Even at the end, people were still arriving," she said.

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto & Entertainment

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