Luciano, Dean Fraser and the Jah Messenjah Band recently performed at 'Reggae Culture Salute 2006' show in New York, USA, which commemorated the 76th anniversary of the coronation of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie.
The show was held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, and attracted a huge audience of fortysomethings who came out on a chilly night in the Big Apple to hear quality reggae music. One man, who appeared to be in his early sixties, skanked the whole night to the intoxicating drumbeats, and the driving bass lines of roots rock music, jerking his body each time in deference to the music as the percussion hit him like a sledgehammer slamming on his brain.
At one point, he shouted out: "Ah strictly rockers we want!"
This statement was greeted with much laughter and cheers of approval from other members of the audience.
When Luciano hit the stage, the mood inside the venue changed to one of almost reverent expectancy for here was the Messenjah coming to deliver words of truth and righteousness, and he did not disappoint. 'Looshy' thrilled the audience with a tight creative set chock full of hits such as 'Who Could It Be?', 'Ulterior Motive', and the poignant 'This One is For the Leaders' which seemed particularly fitting given the proximity of the recent US election races over control of the House and Senate. He took time out to accept a gift from the outstretched arms of a lady before berating entertainers who used swear words and degraded women in their songs. Then he launched into the cathartic 'Sweep Ova My Soul' and a forest of hands went up, some donning lighters as Dean Fraser's beautiful sax piped out through the speakers.
Later, one could understand the pull of the Messenjah as a beam of light from the upper deck illuminated his face as he sang Gethsemane. As the fierce lights struck his face, he looked like an Old Testament prophet coming from on high to inform people of God's inside information and His love for the human race. After this soul-searing song, Luciano performed the ganja-ode 'Legalize It', 'All in This Together', the anthemic 'Lord Give Me Strength' and closed with 'It's Me Again Jah'.
Sidney Mills and David Hinds of Steel Pulse also performed at the event. Kenyatta Hill, who replaced his late father as the lead singe of Culture, also gave an inspired performance that rocked the Hammerstein Ballroom into a roots rock hurricane of good feeling and irie vibes.