Date: Sunday 31st August 2008
Location: The Neighborhood Theatre. Charlotte, North Carolina
Promotions: Brightworks Promotions
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When we pulled into the parking lot of The Neighborhood Theatre on Sunday August, 31st 2008 in beautiful Charlotte, NC around 8.30pm, you could see people rushing out of their vehicles to get inside, in fear that they might be missing something good. This is because the music vibration was already pounding on the outside and no one wanted to miss any part of this stacked show. The TJJ crew met a packed house in a mellow setting, with the theatre housing two stages. Even the food scene to the left of one of the stages was well laid out, and Caribbean Hut had we lickin' we lips for some curry chicken!
Brightworks promoter, Michael Stephens, had every aspect of the show covered - from where we had to park our car (back stage parking of course, allyuh know how we roll) to the time each artist hit the stage. At 9pm sharp, Dubcouncious of Athens GA, held their own for just about 45mins. By 10pm, Irie Love from Hawaii, blessed the stage with her beauty. Singing under the Gedion Music label, Irie Love thrilled the audience with the last of her three tracks "It Was Me". Then Jamaican born reggae artist, Laza, took to the stage next (around 10.20pm) and kept the flow going with tracks like "No Pretty" and "Words Of A Poor Man Son".
Both Irie Love and Laza made way for the infamous group Morgan Heritage, who was welcomed to the stage by a huge roar from the audience around 10.45pm. The cheers were never ending throughout their first song "Don't Haffi Dread". This was just the beginning. Una, Peter, Gramps, Mojo and the entire Heritage family blessed the audience at the One Love Fest with a very passionate performance, singing songs like "Reggae Bring Back Love", "Brooklyn to Jamaica", "Love You Right", "Temptation" and "Down by the River" (which brought everyone to their feet) just to name a few. At the end of their performance (around 12am), the Heritage family showed the TJJ family lots of luv backstage. Big Sister Empress Una even posed for the TJJ cameras a bit. Peter and Gramps, much love to you and the rest of the Morgan family.
At this point in the show, no one even considered leaving, as all the artists so far lived up to crowd's expectations. But the best was yet to come. After the house DJs kept the styles coming for about 30 minutes, new reggae sensation, Courtney John, took to the stage around 12.35am and pleased the One Love crowd with songs like "Baby Tonight", "Miss You" and his new hit "Sometimes". Courtney got a warm reception from the crowd. We managed to catch up with John for our '5 Mins With' interview special.
After Courtney John, both Lenya and Thea Marice, rocked the theatre with their astonishing voices. Wow .... American Idols, step aside!!!! But guess what folks? If you thought they were good, you had to be there to witness the stage presence of Melissa, Nicole and Dorret of the Harmony House Singers. The trio sang both old school reggae songs, as well as, old school R&B to the delight of the One Love Fest audience. They were very captivating and complimented the evening thus far.
After keeping the audience excited for about 40 mins, the Harmony House Singers made way for actor/singer LEON (Waiting to Exhale, Above the Rim, Cool Runnings, Cliffhanger, Little Richard, Get Rich or Die Tryin') and the Peoples. Just take a guess to the reaction of all the women when they saw Leon ... one lady didn't even want to let go of the man's hand!!! After singing a couple songs, Leon introduced the man of the evening .... the # 1 Reggae singer/song writer coming out of Jamaica ... Mr. Beres Hammond!!!
Decked in a black shirt and blue jeans, Beres entered the stage to screams of joy and ecstasy. His new album, 'A Moment In Time' is set to be released in October'08, and with his tour bearing the same name, this concert was really 'a moment in time' .... one to certainly remember. Hammond called out to the people, "Charlotte?", with a huge smile on his face, and everyone responded as if it was rehearsed ... "Yes, Beres??!!" And the chief just stood their with the largest smile ever, as if to say, I love you, it was breathtaking!!! Beres is undoubtedly one of the greatest Reggae artists of his time and TJJ was there to witness this special occasion.
Once he got started, there was no stopping him - from one song to the next - "Show It Off", "Putting Up a Resistance", "Sunshine", "One Dance", "They Gonna Talk" and "Tempted to Touch" were some of his hits for the evening. Beres even had patrons looking around as the voice of Buju Banton sounded, but it was Beres himself. And this just goes to show Hammond's versatility as he sang both sides of "My Woman Now". And just when people thought he was done, Beres unbuttoned his shirt, took a sip of water, and went at them again. At the end of his hit tune "Rockaway", he began speaking to the audience about life and the importance of family. The next thing yuh know, Beres yelled out, "Family??", and they responded (on point like before), "Yes, Beres??!!" And as usual, with sweat dripping down his face, he gave a great big smile and said, "I love you" and bowed, leaving the stage around 2.30am. What a gentleman!!
The following day, the TJJ crew caught up the the Reggae sensation in his Tour bus for an exclusive '5 Mins With' interview - look out for that soon!! Charlotte Trini, keep up the great work!! Much respect to Michael and Geronimo for the hospitality.
JoyJuice, as usual, Out and About!