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March 4, 2014
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Legendary status saves Percy Sledge
CURTIS CAMPBELL, STAR Writer


R&B's living legend Percy Sledge pulled thousands of patrons to the lawns of Jamaica College over the weekend, at the recently concluded R&B and Reggae Concert. However, he was not the same man who belted his high notes effortlessly over the years.

The mellowing effect of age has settled in, and patrons were forced to accept that the legend is far from his glory days.

Sledge appeared just before midnight as promised.

Dressed in full black and sporting his Afro wig, the singer was welcomed with a roar of appreciation from the audience, and he immediately went into his set by performing My Special Prayer.

However, from the first note, his somewhat-weaker voice indicated to patrons that they were not going to get a classic high-pitch, belly-belting performance from the legend.

legend in flesh

Nevertheless, many of the patrons were young people, and were seeing the legend in flesh for the very first time. Therefore, though the vocals were not on point, many patrons still found grave interest in the man who has a career spanning 46 years.

Patrons left their seats and headed to the front of the stage, and with cameras in hand, they sought to capture the touching moment as Sledge affixed himself on his chair to perform the rest of his songs, giving the effect of a grandpa storytelling experience.

"I am gonna sing a song that is very precious to me," he said, before singing Cover Me.

Patrons screamed at the intro of the song, then there was some amount of whispering about the strength at which he delivered. Many persons, in Sledge's defence, argued that he was old and, therefore, should be excused for not being able to skip about the stage and project his voice like the younger acts who performed before him like Jodian Pantry, Noddy Virtue, Gem Myers, and AJ Brown.

"Well, him a get old, at least him nah lip synch," one patron was overheard telling his partner during their discussion about Sledge's set.

Songs like Take Time To Know Her, Bring It Home To Me, Stick By Me and When A Man Loves A Woman had many patrons out singing along with the artiste.

Sledge was joined by his wife for a performance of Warm and Tender Love. For the first time during his set, he left his chair and serenaded his wife, as his fans stared in awe.

The event concluded with a performance by iconic reggae/rocksteady singer John Holt, and he had many patrons kicking up dust as they danced to touching songs like Stick By Me, I Want A Love, My Number One among others.

Performers were backed by the Fab 5 band.

curtis.campbell@gleanerjm.com

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