Reggae Rocks Barclays Center

Marley magic on display at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sept. 1, 2013. (L-R) Jr Gong Marley and his brother Stephen Marley performing at Irie Jamboree 2013. (Winston Roberts image)
News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Sat. Sept. 7, 2013: The sweet sounds of reggae music from an A-list line-up of artists rocked the home of the Brooklyn Nets last weekend, as the Barclays Center’s basketball arena was replaced by reggae fans.

Labor Day Weekend was a historic night at the Center in Brooklyn, NY, which was taken over for three night for the Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival.

Reggae was on the main stage on Sunday September 1 and fans who had packed the venue from hours ahead of the start time could hardly be restrained in their seats.

They had come out to see a sizzling lineup of A-list artists – Mr. Easy, Junior Gong, Shabba Ranks, I-Octane, Dancehall Queen Lady Saw and the Fireman Capleton.

This concert was the highlight of the Labor Day weekend when typically some three million revelers come out to party, and nothing was going to stop this much anticipated reggae extravaganza.

“What we did at the Barclays Center, doing three consecutive nights has never been done before by a Caribbean promoter. We are extremely happy with our accomplishments and we look forward to building on this for 2014” said event co-producer Steven ‘Yello’ Williams.

Former Quincy Jones protege Mr. Easy opened the show with a buzz followed by I-Octane, who transported the audience to the next level with his signature hits “Say Boom,” “My Life,” “No Love Inna Dem,” and “Gal A Gimmi Bun”.

Next up was the headliner, newly crowned monarch of reggae Damain “Junior Gong” Marley. He took command of the stage like a seasoned veteran, invoking memories of his departed father, global luminary Bob Marley. He blasted off into tirade of familiar hits and the crowd roared to his every lyric.

He was later joined by brothers Julian and Stephen Marley who branded the concert with Marley magic, delivering consummate classics including spirited renditions of “Exodus,” and “Road To Zion.” However, the audience went wild when midway through his set, Irie Jamboree executive Bobby Clarke appeared on stage, got down on his knees and proposed to the love of his life and bride to be Syn Dawkins. Gong resumed performing and segued into “Affairs of the Heart,” as the excited couple sealed their love with a kiss. Marley encored with his anthem ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ that proved an ecstatic climax to a molten-hot performance.

Lady Saw in action.
Lady Saw’s show was billed as her last performance as a dancehall artist before formally entering the upper realms of gospel music. It was to be the performance of her life, one so x-rated it would make even the most seasoned porn prince blush. Lady Saw summoned the reigning “King of Dancehall” Beenie Man to join her for a special rendition of their hit single “Healing.”

Saw’s next summons was for Spragga Benz to turn himself in dead or alive for demonstrations of various sexual positions. Spragga obeyed the command and the crowd flew into a tizzy. The climax of her performance, however, was her luscious and daring delivery of her current hit single “Heels On”. She called upon the audience to participate and her fans jumped behind her like lambs to the slaughter.

The dapper Shabba Ranks dressed in black and white delivered a workmamlike set that found favor with dancehall fans as he performed favorites like “Just Reality,” “Shine Eye Gal,” “Peanie Peanie” and “Roots and Culture.” He too was honored by Irie Jam Radio for his dedicated years of service to the music industry.

The “Fireman” Capleton, who brought the curtain down on the three day festival, captivated the audience as they held their cells and lighters up during his 20 minute presentation. Showing true camaraderie, he called Shabba Ranks back on stage. The two worked well, parlaying into an energetic tag-team style medley that sustained the energy level and brought the show to an explosive close inside the world famous arena.

As Bob Marley sang many years ago, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain,” and the near capacity patrons certainly felt only elation as they exited the Barclays Center for what proved to be a memorable night of superlative reggae music.