Last evening, no matter your location in Jamaica, all roads seemed to have led to one place, Reggae Sumfest International Night one, where the much talked-about headliners Shabba Ranks and Trey Songz were slated to perform. “You just cannot miss it, it’s the night of Sumfest,” one patron said. This sentiment echoes the fact that Shabba Ranks had not performed in Jamaica for over a decade and it was to be the first for the rising heartthrob, Trey Songz.
At 1am Trey Songz entered the Reggae Sumfest 20th Anniversary stage to intense shriek from females. “This goes out to the beautiful girls,” the first line of his hit song ‘Invented Sex’, wetted patrons for Trey, who quickly did his rendition of Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill’s Turn Your Lights Down Low. Songz, known for showing off his chest during his performances, teased the audience a bit and then obliged his fans’ desire for him to appease their eyes, while completing several songs from his compilation to sharp-cut females.
A band change followed and at about 2:45am “big dutty, stinkin” Shabba Ranks greeted Catherine Hall in his characteristically colourful use of the Jamaican language. Shabba was his usual authentic and hardcore self as he delivered to those who have never seen him perform and refreshed other die-heart fans with sexually explicit lyrics and groove. Shabba wowed the audience with hits like Wicked Inna Bed, Peeny Peeny, Love Punany Bad, Trailer Load A Girls, Ting A Ling and so much more. The infectious crowd gobbled up every hit. The fanfare reached a notch higher when Shabba brought songstress Cherine Anderson on stage for Mr. Loverman, during which he showed his trademark ‘wine technique’.
Before them, Tarrus Riley and Tessanne ignited the stage with popular hits, showing why both were big league acts fitting to begin a firework night. Tessanne took us down memory lane with some ska and rocksteady beats and had the undivided attention of Catherine Hall to songs such as Messenger, Reason Is You, Hideaway and others. While Mr. Singy-Singy, Tarrus Riley, fed patrons one single at a time and was even joined by Dean Fraser on saxophone.
Bonafide, Sophia Brown and Nature were well-received. However, several persons were dissatisfied with Angelique Sabrina’s performance, voicing opinions like “Is this girl for real, is she lip-syncing,” and “this is an insult to our musical intelligence.”
After his performance Shabba Ranks was honoured, amid fireworks, and gave a message to those set to take over from him. He requested his family’s presence on the stage to share the moment with him. Also honoured for years of service to the show was Irie FM’s Elise Kelly, who dedicated the award to Mighty Mike and her mom.
A poor decision by the organizers saw the Jamaica 50 tribute coming in after 4am, with the likes of Derrick Harriot, U-Roy, and John Holt et al, after Shabba Ranks was honoured. On our way out we heard John Holt’s “If I were a carpenter and you were a lady would you have my baby”. We heard that the Jamaica 50 tribute went until 6am.
With today being Damian “Jr Gong” Marley’s birthday one expects a trilling night. He’ll perform along with Protoje, who is expected to take stage at 10:53pm, Chris Martin and The World’s Greatest singer, R.Kelly.