Saturday 7 December, 2019

Long Walk to Freedom: Buju's redemption

Buju Banton performs at his Long Walk to Freedom concert on Sunday morning inside the National Stadium in Kingston. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Buju Banton performs at his Long Walk to Freedom concert on Sunday morning inside the National Stadium in Kingston. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

It seemed as if time stood still inside the National Stadium on Saturday night.

The king had returned to reclaim his throne and his adoring subjects paid homage as he displayed why he is rated as one of reggae music’s finest.

After an almost decade length hiatus in prison, Buju Banton came back to the world of performing and it was as if he was never missing in action.

The venue was jam packed and Buju did not disappoint in his almost two-hour set.

The audience had mercy on him. He once again was able to rule his destiny and reminded all that only rasta can liberate the people.

The Long Walk to Freedom was over.

Dressed in all white, Buju Banton was at his optimum. Backed by his Til Shiloh band, the beloved artiste gave an awesome performance which lasted some 95 minutes after being introduced by veteran radio personality Elise Kelly.

There was not a moment to rest.

And he did have things to say.

“They say I am a coke head. What are they talking about?” he said to loud cheers.

Then there was the injection of Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond, Wayne Wonder and Gramps Morgan. The noise level rose several decibels as the audience showed their appreciation.

The performance has proven that, whatever the case, Buju Banton deserves the right to be revered as one of Jamaica’s finest sons of the soil, even if he had blundered.

Argument done.

Before him, there was a memorable set from Chronixx, who set the tone for Banton to tear the house down with a blistering performance.

Romain Virgo was also scintillating as was Delly Ranks, Ghost, Christopher Martin and a melodious LUST.

Enough cannot be said about the talent and class of Agent Sasco. Once a student of Banton and mentored by the same man responsible for guiding Buju Banton, Donovan Germain, Agent Sasco has become an artiste that has defined himself as more than an also ran.

Buju’s son Jahazeil has a bright future and should follow in his father’s footsteps once he remains focused.

Wayne Marshall only did one song at the beginning of the proceedings but it was enough to stamp his class.

Etana was very classy as usual and the National Stadium was not the wrong address for the thousands of fans who soaked up her riveting set.

Cocoa Tea also delivered a strong set which included a cameo by teen star Koffee.

The show was largely incident free apart from an overzealous fan who tried to get close to Banton after his set but was restrained by his security team.

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