Sunday 17 June, 2018

Wyclef’s high-energy set gets positive response at Shaggy & Friends

Wyclef Jean performs at the Shaggy and Friends show on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Wyclef Jean performs at the Shaggy and Friends show on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Haitian American rapper Wyclef Jean managed to, through improvisation, evoke enthusiasm from a hard-to-please crowd at the Shaggy and Friends concert on Saturday at Jamaica House in St Andrew.

With a lukewarm response from the audience members to some of his earlier selections, the international recording artiste decided to take his performance into the crowd: leaping off the stage and over the waist-high chain-link perimeter fencing to join members of the huge turnout for the biennial concert.

Not satisfied that he was getting audience members’ full participation, Wyclef, who was one-third of the rap group Fugees, asked that they stand before imploring them to “party!”

He then proceeded with his act and got a far better response to his songs.

If that was not enough, Wyclef, after doing a few more songs in the crowd, returned to the stage and climbed the supporting railing, where he reeled off even more tunes.

He had started his set with the Fugees classic ‘Ready or Not’, before doing their breakthrough single, ‘Ooh La La La’. He then used a guitar to play the introduction of ‘Someone Please Call 911’, his hit 2000 collaboration with Mary J Blige - this while showcasing his versatility with the guitar by playing with the instrument behind his head and even with his teeth.

‘Gone Till November’ came next, with Wyclef interjecting the 1980s dancehall act Papa Levi’s ‘Mi God Mi King’. He then sang the Latin flavoured 2000 hit ‘Maria Maria’, which was sung by Carlos Santana and Product G&B, but written by Wyclef. He also did a piece of Rihanna’s ‘Wild Thoughts’, which was also done on the same rhythm.

Not feeling the crowd, this was when he decided to take his act to them, where he continued ‘Maria Maria’ before Shaggy joined him in the crowd to do ‘Killing Me Softly’.

On his return to the stage, while on the supporting rails, he performed what he said was the Fugees’ biggest hit ever in Jamaica - ‘Hip-Hop Opera’ with dancehall veteran Bounty Killer.

He turned up the tempo a notch when he asked audience members what was the top song in Jamaica currently. While they waited in anticipation, Delano from Renaissance Disco, who played his tracks, dropped Vybz Kartel’s hit ‘Buck Up Inna’ single, which received loud cheers of approval from the crowd.

After another climb up the railing, Wyclef then departed the stage having performed a solid set to a, by then, very appreciative audience.