Kaiso Showkase opened to a sold-out audience at Palm's Club, San Fernando, last Friday. Calypso enthusiasts poured into the venue shortly before start time at 8 pm to secure the best seats to enjoy the show.
With a favourable mix of social commentary, humour and nation-building renditions this year, patrons either sat still when they had to decipher a song or cheer loudly, encoring a calypsonian who caught their favour.
Some calypsonians with cleverly crafted lyrics, some veterans and some newcomers secured multiple encores. But, the most called back singer on the night was US-based, veteran bard Randolph "Count Robin" Hilaire singing 4 Cars.
Count Robin's ditty attacked the credibility of judges who adjudicate over the National Calypso Monarch competition. He earned himself four additional trips back on stage from some stage-pounding patrons.
Victoria "Queen Victoria" Cooper-Rahim rejoined the cast after a year away from the calypso arena. She rode the waves of the applauding audience and was called back to the stage twice with her politically-infused rendition Suspect Band.
Also lending positive advice in calypso with a nation-building song was newcomer Nicholas Lucas, singing The Wake Up Call. Lucas' song shed light on some of society's issues.
Rondell Donawa's Hang Dem High was also a spin-off from what the title implied and made several trips back to the stage to build on his rendition, which heralded T&T's top achievers in sports, song and politics and urged them to be role models for the young ones.
Accompanied by stilt walkers, Ronaldo London's social commentary, Man's Imagine, was also popular with the crowd, as he sounded the call for improved humanity.
Former TUCO president Michael Legerton's Protect Our Women, Kerice Pascall's Mr Popular, Lynnette “Lady Gypsy” Steele and Darwern Greenidge's Formula also got the attention of the crowd.
TUCO PRO and head of the South Central Region Steve "Ras Kommanda" Pascall also presented former Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Willams, Hugh Grant and Ann Maureen Donawa with merit plaques for their involvement and support to Kaiso Showkase over the years.
However, because of the huge attendance on opening night, some late-arriving patrons were denied entry to the Palm’s Club venue, as the Fire Service personnel deemed the venue to be too full.