Monique Hepburn, Staff Reporter, Jamaica Gleaner
CLUB INFERNO went up in musical flames on Christmas night last Saturday, when the Horseman Promotions’ Stars-R-Us delivered a night of solid performances from nine of Jamaica’s finest maestros alongside some up and coming talents.
It was a night of pure star power, which saw hundreds of patrons, entertained by the star-studded line-up which featured Ernie Smith, Gregory Issacs, King Yellowman, Stanley Beckford, Jackie Brown, General Trees, U-Roy, Big Youth and Montego Bay’s Hopeton Lewis all backed by Fab Five Incorporated.
The show, which kicked off around 10:00 p.m. with Montego Bay-based entertainers Lloydie Love and Emmanuel, made way for the perennial favourite, Stanley Beckford, who drew hits such as Saudering, Fi Mi Island A Boom and Kysilo.
MC Ron Muchette in announcing General Trees was keen on pointing out that the talented tailor does not leave his stage attire to chance and takes the time to sew his clothes and sometimes makes his shoes. The 47-year-old Trees gave the crowd not only what they wanted but also what they have come to expect from the veteran deejay, a bag of laughs and hardcore rhythm riding memories. Hits such as Mi Want Mi Woman Again, Eye No See, Mini Van, Bashco and Gone A Negril had the crowd wild.
The performance of the night may have been that of Jackie Brown, who at first had a little trouble warming up the audience, no small task for someone who has been away from Jamaica for more than 20 years. After reeling off yesteryear hits such as Miss Hard To Get, Jah Jah Children and Country Gal, however, Brown’s rendition of These Arms Of Mine had women running from the arms of their dates to the stage, begging caresses and kisses from the entertainer, who along with the women broke down in tears, overcome by the music.
Ernie Smith was his typical crowd-pleasing self and showed that he is still a master of the stage and is a proven rare vintage with classics such as I for Jesus, Pitta Patta and Duppy Or Gunman. Smith nimbly worked the stage and was a sure hit with the crowd.
The cool ruler Gregory Issacs delivered hits from his extensive repertoire. Night Nurse, Top Ten, Overdue and Hard Drugs were just a few such hits.
Saturday night was a night of ‘forwards’ as well. Eager fans were determined to squeeze every drop from the singers as was shown when U-Roy was held hostage onstage by an overzealous fan who demanded he not leave despite complaints of having the flu.
Big Youth and Hopeton Lewis raised the bar with their deliveries of timeless Rock Steady classics, all of which had some members of the audience attempting the ‘S90 Skank’. Big Youth, of course, delivered the favourite Every Nigger Is A Star and mesmerised the crowd with his gripping stage presence and high-pitched falsetto.
Lewis, who is credited with singing the first Rock Steady song, Take It Easy, told the audience that he has now found Christ and is a born-again Christian, and with that he reeled off samples of an upcoming gospel album. King Yellow closed the show with hits such as Blueberry Hill, Mr. Chin and I’m Getting Married, and when it was all done no one complained.