By Paul Clarke—
Like last year, it took another all-star ensemble to close the 2016 GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza show, but the performance of the night belonged to reggae singer Sanchez, who highlighted the event with a string of memorable hits from his vast catalog, sending patrons and the show’s promoter on their merry way home with his name very much on their lips.
Once again, crunched for time, Anthony B, who blazed a musical fire in the early morning, called for Sizzla Kolanje and he was joined shortly thereafter by Beenie Man, Ninja Man, and KipRich, before Bounty Killer joined the fray to add more fire to the explosive performances already on show.
But in what was a rare local performance, and following on a blistering set from veteran singer Freddie McGregor, Sanchez walked on to the stage at approximately 2:30 a.m., in a red suit, to a loud roar from the massive crowd at the Luana Sports Complex, St Elizabeth, and immediately began dropping his big tunes on the expectant crowd, drawing for his cover of, Here I Am, to further ignite the venue.
I Can’t Wait ‘Til the Morning Come, You’re Not Alone, and Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone followed next, and by then it was an avalanche of monster hits that the crowd lapped up, singing along word for word.
As if those were not enough, Sanchez then pulled Man With The Handle, Missing You Now and Love You Too Much To Ever Start Liking You, among several other hits, before leaving the stage.
Still wanting more, the crowd insisted on his return and MC DJ Bones of Irie FM relented, asking Sanchez back for a second dig. This time, he dropped a stirring rendition of Josh Groban’s You Raise Me Up and Amazing Grace, his signature gospel track.
SANCHEZ THE NIGHT’s BIGGEST IMPACT
No doubt, Sanchez had the night’s biggest impact, and following his performance, he told The Gleaner what he has been up to lately and his plans for the immediate future.
“The fans always pull the best out of me. This was a special performance for the people, who wanted to hear from Sanchez,” he said.
“I have not been performing in Jamaica for a while, so I had to do this show, thanks to fadda GT Taylor, and I wanted to use it to reconnect with my fan base and show the younger fans that I still have it,” Sanchez said.
He said he was working on a new project and that it should be ready for release by July 2017. The name of that album is not yet decided, he said, but that it will be a vintage gospel album from him.
And although the night was his, several artists left lasting impressions, including Freddie McGregor, who was also well received. Songs like Africa Here I Come, To Be Poor Is A Crime, Prophecy, and Push Come To Shove were classically delivered in true Freddie style.
By the time he launched into Big Ship Sailing On The Ocean, Let Him Try, I was Born A Winner, and So I’ll Wait For You, he had the crowd eating up every syllable from his lips as if they couldn’t get enough of him.
Louie Culture belted out his calibre of hits like they were recorded only yesterday, scorching the ears of the patrons with Nanko Me Nanko, Rudy Don’t Fear Rude Bwoy, Eyes of an Angel, Excellence, Ole Gangalee, and Tune In ‘Til A Morning, before making way for Richie Spice, who never relented either, with an easy going but powerful performance that gave us his extensive list of chart-topping songs.
Veteran singer Glen Washington came and delivered songs like Please Consider Me, My Love Belongs To You, and Kindness For Weakness, among others, that were loved by the crowd.
Tanto Blacks had an energetic 10-minute spell, as did Bobby Tenna, before handing the microphone to Wayne Wonder, and he produced a lively set that brought back memories of a hit-laden decade of music, as did George Nooks who sent the howls of approval even higher when he belted out his seminal anti-gunman hit, Tribal War. He followed that up with Zion Gate, Satisfaction, and Bridge over Troubled Water, before closing his stint with the gospel track, Ride Out Your Storm.
Worthwhile mentions include reggae Grammy nominee Devin Di Dakta, Vershon, Nesbeth, Shuga and Ikaya, while it was clear that although Savage is having a moment in the sun, he will need more than Culu Culu to make it big. The same can be said of Razor B, whose 10-minute stint was the only flop on an otherwise entertaining and memorable Christmas night show. Up-and-coming acts like Mr Khool, Sagitar, and comedic deejay Grampa Entatain also gave good accounts of themselves.
“I am very pleased with this show this year. I think the artists did a phenomenal job and that is seen in how the patrons responded. It was marvelous and hopefully, God’s willing, we can do it all over again next year,” said GT Taylor.