Author/Link: Richard Johnson | MAY 29, 2018
THE forecast for wet weather Sunday did not dampen the spirits of reggae fans in South Florida as they turned out in numbers for the Best of The Best show at Mana Wynnwood Center in Miami.
Florida, Georgia and Alabama were under severe weather alert due to sub-tropical storm Alberto. This caused organisers to change the venue from the Bayfront Park in downtown Miami to the indoor facility close by. However, by the afternoon start the skies cleared and there was no sign of the morning torrential showers which dumped on the area.
Organiser Steven “DJ Jabba” Beckford did not have the drama with artistes as last year. All the billed acts made it to the stage inside the 10,000-square-foot facility.
Perhaps the most anticipated artiste on the bill was Capleton. The “Fire Man” has been embroiled in legal woes having been accused of rape, arrested then released on bail two weeks ago.
It was a tempered Capleton who took the stage just after midnight as the event’s final act belting his popular track Small World
… the refrain of ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ reverberating through the massive hall.
The artiste, whose given name is Clifton Bailey, made no mention of his legal troubles, but used music to “dash a fire”. In between tracks his banter seemed to reference his legal situation.
“In your life there will always be obstacles and stumbling blocks in your life… Nuh mek wickedness deter you from doing good,” he said.
Capleton gave a good account of himself, justifying the decision of promoters to have him close the show, as hundreds remained to enjoy his performance.
Aidonia is having a steady stream of success and can add his performance in Miami to that list. The JOP
artiste was sandwiched between Masicka and perennial favourite Mavado on the running order, but still made his presence felt with his string of current hits including Yeah Yeah Yeah
This year featured a number of Best of The Best debutants. Among them was Ghana’s Stonebwoy, who had the distinction of also being the first African artiste to perform on the annual event.
Singer Richie Stephens also made his debut and used his experience to woo his audience. The other first-timer was singjay Shenseea who was confident as she dropped her tracks Unconditional Love, Is This Love, Jiggle
Singer Ghost, a staple on the entertainment scene during the 1990s, gave a stunning performance. His unique voice filled the room as he dropped reggae covers of I’ll Be Waiting For You, By Your Side, You Call Me Al, Donna, Wish You Were Here
and Making Love Out of Nothing at All.
Mavado didn’t make it to the stage last year, so he did his best to make up on Sunday night. He dropped a string of his hits to the appreciation of the audience. He shared the stage with stablemate Jahmeil.
Another crowd-pleaser was Romain Virgo who effortlessly entertained with his growing catalogue which includes Love Doctor, Rain Is Falling, People Business
which saw a cameo from Chris Martin, Stay With Me,
and Soul Provider.
Best of The Best plays to a wider Caribbean audience. In addition to reggae and dancehall music, a soca flair is a requirement. This year it was the husband-and-wife team of Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, as well as Kerwin Dubois who represented the genre.
If there was one drawback to the event indoors, it was the sound. The acoustics were challenging at times, but that did not seem to bother fans.