MIAMI, Florida — The Bayfront Park Amphitheatre in downtown Miami was bursting at the seams as fans of the embattled reggae star, Buju Banton turned out in their numbers for his Before the Dawn Concert here yesterday.
At the time of filing this report, the Reggae star, who has been facing drug charges in the United States, had not yet taken the stage. However, all the artistes who performed, gave a good account of themselves.
Young act Richie Loop came to Miami and emptied his "cupp," kicking things off in great fashion. He was followed by Everton Blender who raised the tempo inside the venue and had the patrons rocking to his popular tunes, Lift Up Your Heads and Ghetto People Song. Despite his short stint on stage Blender was in fine form and the audience loved him.
The bar was raised even higher when former teen queen, Nadine Sutherland, took to the stage. If her performance was to be rated out of 10, she definitely scored a 9.99, giving "action, not a bag a mout" and left the crowds roaring for more of her infectious performance.
Freddie McGregor was up next and his Big Ship sailed across the Miami Bayfront, delivering the hits he is known for.
The Jamaican artiste who had the most international visibility for 2010, Gyptian, also took to the stage to support his fellow artiste. He delivered his big tune, Hold You, much to the delight of the Miami audience.
There was a strong contingent of police at the venue, and this was a poignantly brought home by singer Mykal Rose who burst onto the stage with the opening line of his popular song, "Police and thief inna shoot-out."
This opening segment of the show also featured Gramps Morgan, who has collaborated with Buju Banton for a haunting rendition of Psalms 23. Morgan gave another of his signature performances. Another of the early standouts was Wayne Wonder. Many will remember that he was the first to call a young Buju on stage back in 1990 introducing the 'Gargamel' to Jamaica and the world. Wonder did well to ignite his fans in this city.
If there was one downside to the event, it was the stringent policy put in place to deal with members of the media who journeyed from all over the world to cover the event. Only when the media arrived at the venue for accreditation were we informed that only the first five minutes of each performance could be videotaped or photographed. In addition no photos of Buju Banton could be taken while he is on stage. This resulted in the media being herded out of the 'pit' after the first few minutes of each performance.