A massive crowd, excellent music and brilliant performances indicate that Machel Monday at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Monday night was a commercial success.The concert, held by soca stalwart Machel Montano, featured more than a dozen guest performances, including Junior Soca Monarch winner Jeremy Rodriguez, Digicel Rising Star 2010 winner Neval Chatelal and Trinidad-born international hip-hop recording artiste Trinidad James.
The concert was scheduled to begin at 8 pm but over an hour later patrons were still waiting for the promised show. When Montano began at around 10 pm the crowd screamed with excitement.Montano performed current and classic hits, inviting artistes to join him on stage for their own performances.
His performance with local group Freetown Collective of the Represent remix (One Love) was well received as patrons across the stadium and even in the stands pointed their fingers in a sign that represented the one love concept.It was a keenly felt and beautiful rendition of the song.Following this, he endorsed the "future of soca" inviting 2013 Junior Soca Monarch Jeromy Rodriguez and young soca singer Devyn Tyson to perform with him on stage.
The youngsters performed the song I Love My Country from Montano's Going for Gold album.Midway through the show Montano invited members of the Blackman family to do a tribute to Ras Shorty I as one of the innovators of soca music.While young Isaac Blackman sang of blessings, a boy, who looked to be in his late teens, collapsed near the front of the stage after being observed consuming what appeared to be alcohol.
Friends tried to revive him but he was eventually taken away by several fire officers.The show continued though and kicked up a notch when Montano performed his 2013 groovy soca Fog and followed it up with classics from his years as a member of soca band Xtatik.He teased the crowd with performances of Powder Posse, Music Farm and Water Flowing. Though it felt as though he rushed through some of his earlier work, it still brought a sense of nostalgia to patrons who sang most of the songs with vigour.
Around 1.30 pm Montano brought newly-signed Def Jam recording artist Trinidad James on stage to join him, hip hop artiste Pitbull and Reggae artist Shaggy to perform the remix to James' hit song All Gold Everything.Fans responded positively to the performance.
Despite the happiness pouring from the crowd, there were several issues backstage, such as lack of proper organisation or space for media, and at one point this reporter was told no one else would be allowed backstage as fire officers had declared it was overcrowded.
Other guest performances included New York-based soca artiste Lyrikal, who declared support for Montano for Friday's Soca Monarch competition, chutney singers Drupatee, Ravi B and KI, Patrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy, Kerwin Dubois and Denise Belfon.