In a sold out Bayfront Park Ampfitheater, packed with approximately 10,000 fans, Buju Banton pulled out all the stops during a spectacular two hour performance with his own Shiloh band. Buju delivered a set that will keep the patrons, who witnessed the event at first hand, talking for a long time.
Fans from all over the world came to Miami to see ‘The General’, ‘Gargamel’ Buju Banton and his friends live on stage after being in prison in Tampa (Florida) for nearly a year. The WorldaReggae crew flew to Miami to represent The Netherlands in Miami.
Hours before opening, hundreds of fans gathered already around the gates of Bayfront Park to be the first ones to enter the venue at 4pm. The beautiful weather contributed greatly to the vibes in the park. Buju’s fans along with reggae and rasta flags, dozens of Caribbean food stands and of course a host of entertainers turned Bayfront Park into little Jamaica on Sunday January 16th, 2011.
Ras Michael kicked off the concert with a 90 minutes chanting and nyahbinghi session. The Amphfitheater slowly filled with reggae fans and around 6pm the vibes improved even more. The crowd was ready for a night with upcoming as well as veteran Artistes. The first artist on stage hyping up the crowd was Richie Loop from the Big Yard family, who performed his hit ‘My Cupp’ and officially started the concert. Next in line was reggae legend Everton Blender who brought solid roots reggae into Bayfront Park with his big hits ‘Lift Up Your Head’ and ‘Ghetto People Song’.
Being the only female to perform during the first part of the concert, Nadine Sutherland impressed the crowd with dancehall hits such as ‘Action’, ‘Anything For You’ and ‘Please Me’. Right after Nadine, it was time for another legendary artiste, Freddie McGregor. He played some of his biggest hits like ‘Push Comes To Shove’ and ‘I Was Born A Winner’. Of course he couldn’t leave without doing his biggest hit ‘Big Ship’.
Then it was time for veteran dancehall singer Wayne Wonder who rinsed hits such as ‘Saddest Day’, ‘Forever Young’ and ‘No Letting Go’. For the occasion he changed a few lines in his hit ‘Informers’ referring to Buju’s situation: ‘Buju Banton dem a watching and tell di FBI’.
In an already sizzling Amphitheater, one of the biggest surprises this evening entered the stage, an artiste that had a very successful year in 2010, the new reggae superstar Gyptian. He managed to get the ladies going crazy with his 2010 superhit ‘Hold Yuh’ and some other big tunes like ‘Serious Times’, ‘Beautiful Girl’. After Gyptian’s performance another surprise act took the stage, former Black Uhuru leadsinger Michael Rose. His performance of the hit ‘Shoot Out’ got the crowd cheering, especially because the police was heavily represented at the venue.
Reggae star Tarrus Riley performed a solid set together with ace saxophone player Dean Fraser. Together they did their well known duel as well as some of Tarrus’ biggest hits including ‘She’s Royal’ and ‘Beware’, followed by a set rolling like an avalanche by renowned superstar Shaggy. Shaggy along with with his sidekick Rayvon bussed up the stage and shared the mic with a very energetic Serani, Sean Paul and Spragga Benz. Gramps Morgan also passed through and performed amongst others Morgan Heritage’s ‘She’s Still Loving Me’. A tune that created a huge forward with all the ladies in the park. The vibes in Bayfront were building up as the crowd sang along with all the big tunes. What a joy to see so many reggae fans and artists enjoying their time at Bayfront Park during the whole night.
DJ Khaled and Busta Rhymes brought some hiphop vibes to the Bayfront and the crowd was now ready for the artist everybody was waiting for. At almost 10pm, Mark Myrie a.k.a. Buju Banton took the stage, dressed in a black suit. The Shiloh Band started to play the first melodies and not long after the voice of Gargamel could be heard. Buju Banton opened his two hour set with the track ‘Destiny’, while the crowd screamed out loud. It seemed to be that the reggae star from Kingston, Jamaica was in trance, while he somewhat hypnotized the crowd with a selection of old hits with tracks from his latest album ‘Before The Dawn’.
Already over an hour in his set, Buju called on stage an artist who was like a tutor for him. As Buju said: “I want to welcome on stage someone who was very instrumental in my development. When I was 18 years old, I just entered the recording studio, coming from Downtown Kingston, I met a lady and she told me: “Be careful what you are saying in music because sometimes these things take on life”. Let’s welcome on stage Marcia Griffiths”. Together they performed ‘Closer’ as well as ‘Live On’. Buju paid homage to one of his other mentors, Beres Hammond, who couldn’t be at the show as he had to perform on Rebel Salute in Jamaica. “He could not be here tonight, but wherever he is, he should hear you, Mr. Beres Hammond I miss you!” Buju performed ‘Who Say’ and ‘Pull It Up’ while the crowd did sing along loudly with Beres’ part.
Together with longtime friend Wayne Wonder, Buju performed some other collaborations including ‘Bonafide Love’. While Wayne sang the line “I don’t know why?”, Buju asked: “Why do you wish to see the Banton cry? Is it because I said ‘Boom Bye Bye’? Is it because I say ‘Rastafari’? Is it because I’m black and I’m not shy?” The audience responded full of approval.
Stephen Marley and his brother Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley also went on stage together with Buju Banton. Stephen walked on stage first and his entry brought out loud cheers, because he had put up his Florida home as collateral for Buju Banton to qualify for bail. Stephen and Buju did a version of the Wailer’s classic ‘Duppy Conqueror’ after which Jr. Gong joined them on stage for ‘The Traffic Jam’ and the brand new ‘Jah Army’.
The final collaboration was with Gramps Morgan, one of the singers of the famous reggae rock band Morgan Heritage. Together they performed the spiritual ‘Psalms 23’. This was an emotional moment for many fans in the audience as they broke out in tears when both artists sang together. Towards the end of this song Buju called his attorney David Oscar Markus on stage and thanked him for his efforts and support in defending him against his accusers. “Don’t watch him color. Him blacker than me and you”, Banton said before hugging his lawyer and exiting the stage after his non-stop 120 minute performance.
Buju had been escorted inside the venue by federal agents who stood vigil around the backstage area during the show and made sure that no unauthorized contact was made with the singer. He had been under house arrest since December last year when he was granted bail in a Tampa court. Buju’s eleven month incarceration and recent restrictions seemed to be the furthest thing on his mind as he gave the audience value for their money. Tickets were sold for US$53 prepaid and US$63 at the box office for general admission and US$100 prepaid and US$140 at the gate for VIP admission. After the show Buju briefly spoke with WorldaReggae crew member Danny Pepperseed. “Please say hi to the people in the Netherlands for me”, Buju asked him.
Unfortunately Gargamel Music, Inc. and Youtube have requested us to remove the videos of Buju Banton’s ‘performance. Therefore these videos cannot be viewed any more.
Helaas kunnen de Buju Banton Videos niet meer bekeken worden, deze zijn door ons verwijderd na een verzoek van Gargamel Music, Inc. en Youtube.