By: Claude Mills
Photos By: Carlington Wilmot
At 10 minutes to six on Monday morning, Beenie Man hit the stage to a tremendous roar from the crowd, and announced that he would not be working alone. Minutes later, the whole venue just 'lift up' in an orgy of flag-waving, hand-waving, and fire-torches stabbing orange tongues of fire at the purplish dawn sky. Enter the Fireman.
He hit the stage dressed in a regal-looking red and gold outfit and launched into 'Top of Things', Beenie responded 'Come Again', when he did 'Slew Dem', Beenie replied with 'Troublemaker', when Capleton suggested 'Bad Mind', Beenie declared 'Nuh Like Me' and so on, and the crowd loved every second of it.
Munga also earned a big forward with his hit, 'Dem Bwoy De Nuh Bad Like I'. After Capleton did 'Consuming' and exited the stage, Beenie called on D'Angel, and they performed 'One Man' together, after which she did 'Downtown Girl' to big forwards, showing that her stocks in the Dancehall Game are sky high. Then, Beenie closed the show with 'Heart Attack' as the sun began to rise in an orange ball in the morning sky.
Earlier, Ninjaman gave arguably the performance of the night earning two encores with his engaging lyrics - most directed at other artistes.
The crowd loved the vintage Ninjaman performance, especially the song with the punchline, 'Bounty gal lef him fi a better man'. He also earned a major forward for 'Adams Haffi Gimme Back Mi Gun', which had a line that intimated that he had lent Sizzla 13 guns.
However, Sizzla, who performed afterwards, had a stinging riposte to Ninjaman to the effect that he was "bussing his gun" in the name of justice and against oppression, hence "me and you caan have no gun dealings".
Downsound recording artiste Fantan Mojah earned big forwards for almost all his songs such as 'Mama Hungry', and his pleas to free Jah Cure, but it was the phenomenal response to 'Hail the King' which rocked the venue like a small tremor. It showed that he really seems to connect with his audience.
Earlier, there had been great performances from Little Hero, Ghost, and there was an outstanding cameo by Singer J, the 'Energy Jesus' who took over Beetle Bailey's set. Turbulence was absolutely brilliant, reeling off his hits one by one. Kip Rich and Blacka also performed well. Ruffian was wildly entertaining with her slack songs we can't even write about here, and she seems to be growing increasingly confident with her stage craft and delivery.