St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): In an evening that saw the youngest artist on this year's St. Kitts Music Festival as the opening act, it was the music veteran who stole the show. In a night of fine performances, it was Caribbean legend Beres Hammond who ruled the night.
Friday night's young local line-up performed early for a disappointingly small crowd. But they were undaunted by the numbers and buoyed by the support that they did get. Up and coming teenage crooner Dejour opened the night, followed by the authoritative rapper Dagah and the popular singer-songwriter Charles Emmanuel, who told WINN FM after the show that performing was a peak life experience.
"Pure energy, music, love, family support," Emmanuel gushed backstage.
The crowd began to build as the man who went from a Digicel Rising Star to a Caribbean Star, Christopher Martin appeared next and thrilled his fans with a selection of mostly cover tunes from reggae to R&B.
Then the charm quotient went up several notches, as the cheeky, charismatic Mr. Boombastic, Shaggy exploded onto the stage, delighting the audience by including his earliest hits in his repertoire like Oh Carolina and it Wasn't Me. He chatted with crowd in between, sweet talking the ladies and giving tips to the gents on how to Lover Man. The gravelly voiced, former US marine who served in the Persian Gulf, was anything but militant and everything about having fun. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he danced, swayed and swaggered across the diamond-domed stage.
Dancehall artiste Konshens then blasted on to the stage, dropped a commanding selection of his hits. He did not seem to have the attention of the entire crowd, but those that came to see him responded loudly and fervently and called for more, urging the performer who taught the world about the 'bubble' to take off his shirt. The Jamaican start came prepared, wearing three shirts, but his St. Kitts and Nevis fans worked on him, screaming their delight when he was finally bare-chested.
Then the vibe switched again, and the legendary Beres Hammond took to the stage and claimed it as his. Though he has grown more frail in stature in recent years, Hammond's energy and powerful, distinctive voice were as strong ever. A pitch perfect, and remarkably energetic Hammond seemed determined to sing every single one on his hits, moving quickly from one to the next, as the crowd sang along and screamed for more.
And they screamed even more loudly when Shaggy returned to the stage to perform with Hammond their new hit single 'Can't Fight this Feeling.'
But ultimately it was Beres who ruled the night. He connected the thousands that filed the park and he kept them engaged, with his quick and engaging smile and passionate delivery reminded everyone why he is the king of Lover's Rock.
Click below to hear full report with feedback from patrons and a brief interview with Music Festival Chairman Faron Lawrence