Jamaica Gleaner / With big names such as Etana and Freddie McGregor set to headline the Shortwood Teachers’ College Evening of Excellence, it was bound to be an evening of quality entertainment.
Held on Saturday night on the lawns of the school’s campus, while the evening’s entertainers delivered thrilling sets, what would have been an evening of top notch performances was marred by a sub par acoustic set up. Technical glitches throughout the evening put a damper on the event as the speaker boxes and microphones for the artistes would cut out mid-performance.
Organisers tried desperately each time to get the sound back on track as soon as possible, but no sooner had the they done so, it was out again.
The glitches, however, did not stop the action on stage, as each entertainer showed has class and professionalism by rolling with the punches as the night progressed. Ashe, in particular, showed just why they have survived for 25 years by handling the technicalities with grace and poise. While they were in their element, there were no signs of the anything going awry as they held their composure and delivered a solid performance.
They took the audience on a musical journey that resulted in a standing ovation as they thrilled with rousing renditions of some of the most popular reggae, dancehall, and gospel hits. Their choreography and interaction with the crowd was on point from start to finish. They owned the stage but still managed to get patrons involved in their set.
When Etana, ‘the Strong One’, touched the stage, she was determined not to let the sound affect her performance. Declaring that her voice was the sound, the songstress powered through a slew of hits including Roots ; Free ; People talk ; Blessings ; Richest Girl ; and her breakout hit, Wrong Address . Encouraging patrons not to be stopped by obstacles on their journey in life, Etana oozed positivity and strength with each song.
By the time the captain of the Big Ship touched the stage, organisers, had finally sorted out the sound. Freddie McGregor was the only performer of the night to benefit from some good acoustics, and he took advantage of his good fortune. Delivering songs such as Push Come to Shove , I was Born a Winner , Let him Try , I see it in You , and Loving Pauper , the entertainer thrilled with what he described as “big people music”, and the audience was more than satisfied. He, too, demanded crowd participation as he invited patrons to join him at the front of the stage. Some dancing and a sing-along put an end to an evening of great performances. Had the sound been sorted out earlier, the event would have, undoubtedly, delivered on its promised evening of excellence.