July 4, 2012
Reggae, dancehall had patrons 'Groovin In The Park'
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Although a reggae and R&B show, it was reggae and dancehall that reigned supreme at Groovin In The Park at Roy Wilkins Park, New York, on Sunday.
Although preceded by Boyz II Men, Jimmy Cliff displayed immense energy from the very beginning of his set. Early into his performance, he had patrons moving to songs like You Can Get It If You Really Want and Treat The Youths Right.
After going through some ska numbers, he began Many Rivers To Cross. The people waved, gave 'gun salutes' and shouted.
"How you feeling," he asked, and in unison the crowd shouted 'irie'.
During the band change, DJ Show And Tell had patrons dancing to songs like Vybz Kartel's Summertime, Popcaan's Only Man She Want, Buju Banton's Bogle, Barrington Levy and Bounty Killer's Living Dangerously, and Nadine Sutherland and Terror Fabulous' Action.
Not too long after, MC Ragashanti went onstage.
"You see when big artiste a come on, mc nuh fi inna no chatting, chatting, chatting chatting," Ragga said to introduce Beenie Man who teased the crowd with "oh na na na nah" before actually taking the stage. It was at this point that people got up off their seats and drew closer to the front of the stage.
Adding a bit of wining to his performance very early into the show, he did songs like Toy Friend, Let Him Go, Bookshelf and Tell Me.
"They try to keep me out of the United States for two and a half years, but now ladies, I'm back," he said.
In somewhat of a foreign 'twang' he asked, "Who Am I", before doing the song.
Being patriotic, he mentioned Jamaica's 50th year of Independence, he also sang the national anthem. But this was short-lived as, in no time, he delved into more raunchy songs like Wickedest Slam and Ole Dog, as well as songs from Chaka Demus and Pliers, Shabba Ranks and Super Cat.
He also did Healing and his version of I Gotta Feeling that led to tons of jumping.
Beenie Man then moonwalked, sat, paused, and then interacted with the audience some more.
"The man a work," one man said, as Beenie Man did King Of The Dancehall that preceded Chaka Dance. He also did very high-energy songs like Back It Up, Wine Gal, Hum Hum, Go-Go Club and Let's Go To The Beach, that is more recent.
Shocking his 16-year-old daughter, Beenie Man asked her to join him on stage to sing, which she eventually did. I'm Okay would have been his final song, but at Ragashanti's request, he returned and did a rendition of Bob Marley's Redemption Song.
Beres Hammond thrilled as he took the stage doing songs like Come Back Home, Step Aside Now and She Loves Me Now, while patrons danced and sang along.
Mimicking Buju Banton's voice and body movement as he did Falling All Over Again, Beres had patrons laughing and cheering. Reeling off hit after hit, patrons danced as they seemed to be fully entertained by his catalogue.
He was doing I Could Beat Myself when he invited Beenie Man on stage. Beenie teased with a couple of his songs then went to the side of the stage where he continued to enjoy the performance.
With an audience that began to experience cooler weather dancing endlessly, he did Tempted To Touch, Putting Up A Resistance and Pull Up The Vibes. Not being selfish, Beres took a breather and allowed his musicians to show off their skills. He closed out with tracks like I Feel Good and Rock Away.
But the near-cool weather that Beres Hammond performed in was quite the contrast to the pelting sun that greeted patrons when Boyz II Men took the stage at 1:30 p.m.
"I know it's hot out there, 'cause it's really hot up here. So I'm just going to make it really easy for y'all," said Shawn Stockman, before doing Water Runs Dry, I'll Make Love To You and Mama, amid screams.
Under much security, Gladys Knight entered the stage as her bus waited directly behind the stage. She was crisp, clear and melodious, but did not seem to grab the majority of the audience, as many persons exited during her performance. Others watched but remained still, while some rewarded her with faint applause. Unfortunately, she brought an anticlimactic end to the show.