BY: JODEE BROWN
After two days of memorable performances that had thousands of patrons in undeniable awe, it was only fitting that the son of Reggae’s greatest product brought a remarkable end toReggae Sumfest 2012.
Grammy-winning Reggae superstar, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley drew several comparisons to his late father, Bob Marley following an impeccable performance on International Night 2 on Saturday night at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay; prompting conversation that it was one of the greatest sets in Reggae Sumfest history.
With Damian Marley’s dreadlocks down to his feet, it became only fitting that his performance mirrored the aforementioned hairstyle; flowing from head to toe with energy and identity that made him stand out amongst fellow greats who graced the Sumfest stage.
The internationally acclaimed Reggae superstar amazed the audience with many of his classics such as More Justice, Still Searching and Beautiful; engaging the crowd who echoed Marley’s notes on those tracks. Furthermore, Jr. Gong performed another more smash hits such It Was Written and The Mission to rousing ovations while his chart-topping single, Affairs of the Hearthad women in the audience screaming for more.
Damian Marley’s effort followed that of American R&B superstar, R. Kelly who had a quite interesting night to say the least. Arriving over an hour later than scheduled, R. Kelly appeared on stage with the same attire he wore when arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport on Saturday morning. Though he did not apologize for his lateness and asked forgiveness for his ‘tipsiness,’ R. Kellydid manage to win over patrons with a performance that was a year overdue after missing out on Reggae Sumfest 2011due to health issues.
The ‘Pied Piper of R&B’ made up for lost time with a resounding performance; delivering classics such as Hoteland Snake to the approval of his many female fans in the audience.
R. Kelly turned up the heat soon thereafter with smash hits from the last two decades such as Slow Wine and Your Body’s Calling which has the ladies clamoring for more; so much in fact that they ripped off the R&B legend’s shoes while he performed Strip For Me for his female supporters.
Engaging the fans throughout his performance, R. Kelly lived up to expectation throughout his set and once again had patrons singing with arguably his biggest hit to date, I Believe I Can Fly.
Other from the two headliners, several other prominent acts lived up to the billing duringInternational Night 2 including Raine Seville, who delivered in her debut at Sumfest, as well asA.J. Brown, Conkarah and Q-Ban, who all managed to impress during the early stages on Saturday night’s showing.
Former Digicel Rising Stars prodigy, Christopher Martin once again showed his on-stage maturity by performing hits like Paper Loving and Cheater’s Prayer while incorporating some soul into his set by dishing out classic tracks such as Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together and Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.
Rising Reggae superstar, Protoje once again elicited positive responses on the genre’s biggest stage, performing track such as Who Dem a Program, Rasta Love, This Is Not a Marijuana Song and Take Control of Them, in which he asked for a better Jamaica as the island approaches its 50th anniversary of independence.