He stormed on stage adorned in a shiny platinum suit, crisp leather hard bottoms and sleek dark shades, roaring to over 5,000 hyped up fans, “It’s me and oonu, me and oonu bombclat,” in his signature raspy baritone. Slick talking musical wiz, Buju Banton, rocked the WAMU Theatre at Madison Square Garden, last Friday night, alongside 80’s Dancehall King, Shabba Ranks and a slew of special guests.
“I listen to every artist, not only myself,” revealed an energetic Buju in between entertaining foot work and chart-topping favorites, “Only Man,” “Champion,” “Batty Rider” and “Mr. Nine.”
“When mi hear how many people suffering everyday, mi wonder what’s going on,” he lectured the attentive crowd, right before pouring out conscious tunes, “Hills and Valleys,” “Untold Stories,” ‘Til Shiloh and Destiny. “Reggae music’s supposed to uplift, educate and eradicate negativity. Our forefathers died trying to do this with the music, so oonu stop the senseless slaughtering.”
History was made back in 2006 when Buju murdered the stage alongside Shabba and Lady Saw-marking the first time a Dancehall collective has ever sold out the Garden.
Accompanying Buju this time around were nourishing acts like Queen Ifrica who belted righteous songs “Below the Waist” and “Daddy Don’t Touch Me There.” Lovers Rock brothers, Gramps and Peter of Morgan Heritage, serenaded the crowd with soulful ballads, “She’s Still Loving Me” and “Down By the River.” Grammy Award-winning phenomenon, Burning Spear ran through a lengthy catalog, with classics that date back over 35 years, while Gargamel’s Shiloh Band kept hyped up fans on their feet with infectious live rhythms.
Shabba Ranks incontestably stole the show, jumping, squatting, jooking and wining to throwbacks “Trailer Load of Girls,” “Ting-A-Ling” and “Just Reality,” constantly reminding attendees, “big, dutty, stinkin’ Shabba in deya.”
Buju’s highly coveted Driver Concert was originally slated to go down in May but the sudden death of his mother, earlier this year, forced the show to be postponed. Three months later, Reggae’s ambassador and his tight nit music fraternity, were still able to give a sold out crowd an extravagant night to remember.
For more info on Buju and his upcoming shows, click here.