THE BOTTLES which marked the end of Red Label Wine East Fest 2006 came at the end of a markedly hurried dancehall segment, which saw Assassin and Turbulence doing mostly lines from songs such as Eediat Ting Dat and Notorious respectively, the latter declining the audience’s demand for an encore. Fantan Mojah, on the other hand, walked back on stage despite the audience thundering ‘No’ when MC Richie B asked if they wanted more of him, doing a line of Mama Hungry to decidedly unenthusiastic reception. Natural Black skipped and skanked across the stage as he delivered Far From Reality to enthusiastic reception. Voicemail recalled Mr. Wacky to middling response and Nanko delivered Lucky You. Live Wyya band played for that segment.
HIGHLY APPRECIATED PERFORMANCES
In contrast to the closing pre-flinging flurry, there were somewhat extended, highly appreciated performances in the earlier going, hosted by Mutabaruka, who poked fun at the ‘arthritic’ persons sitting in the VIP section. Peter Tosh’s African, delivered by son Andrew, was remembered by many and Hero hit home with We No Love What a Gwaan, coming in for a ‘forward’ from the audience. It was the same for No Gun No Deh Dung Deh and he sank to his knees to plead "I don’t know what to do", not starting over despite howls from the audience.
Chakademus and Pliers alternated with One Scotch and Knocking on Heaven’s Door respectively, before Plier’s Bam Bam led into their combination Murder She Wrote, rocking the audience. Natty King’s first ‘man from the east’ ignited his home crowd, but their appreciation cooled through Guns To Town, his closing Mr. Greedy warming them a bit. Junior Reid put his sons in between the opening ‘ra pa pam pam’ and Black Uhuru segment of Fit Yu Haffi Fit and General Penitentiary, demonstrating the ‘Rasta Bounce’ on ‘Banana Boat Man’ and earning a strong reaction for One Blood. From Tune In and Love Overdue through Rumours, on which his jacket came off and closing Night Nurse Gregory Isaacs moved many of the ‘arthritic’ to stand, as Mutabaruka had promised.
STRICTLY DANCEHALL STYLE
With Gumption on the stand, John Holt delivered Carpenter and Tribal War, Marcia Griffiths stately in song and movement as she brought the house down with Kiss You One More, Dreamland and I Shall Sing, combining with her son on All My Life. "Right now is strictly dancehall style," she said, to introduce Dawn Penn’s No No No, ending with Marley’s Night Shift and Iron Lion Zion, on which saxophonist Dean Frazer hit soaring solos. Freddie McGreggor also honoured the departed at the end of his set, which included a rocking Prophecy and Push Comes To Shove, doing Dennis Brown’s Here I Come and Revolution.
The transition from roots to dancehall was marked by a rapturously received Wayne Wonder, backed by Ruff Kut band, who went back to Saddest Day In My Life and then up to date with Hold Me Now. Baby Cham made an explosive surprise entry and alternated with Pinchers’ Desperate Scenario to demolish the venue with Ghetto Story.
Morgan Heritage took East Fest back the roots way with A Man Is Still A Man, many a cry of "Rockers!" interspersed with Don’t Haffi Dread. "They say Morgan Heritage has changed. And this is why they say Morgan Heritage has changed, because we started singing songs like this," lead singer Peter Morgan said, before doing I’m Still The Same. How Come was spliced with Jah Cure’s Love Is.
Damain ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley opened with Confrontation, went back to More Justice and mused There Is No Love, a pair of female back-up singers doing at times near frenetic, co-ordinated movements during his performance. There For You was given extended treatment and Marley dipped into Daddy’s catalogue with Lively Up Yourself, Bad Card, Who The Cap Fits, Top Ranking and Zimbabwe. Khaki Suit and It Was Written led to the strong Jamrock close.
And still earlier, as The Gleaner entered East Fest, Capital D chided the rude boys, To-Isis expressed Real Ghetto Pain, Tarrus Riley promised I’ll Stay With You and Lenn Hammond went into Otis Redding mode to sing I’ve Been Loving You to a woman at the front of the stage, Heather Cummings hosting that segment of the concert.