Morgan Heritage concert: Well worth the wait

HARARE - Last Thursday, visiting Jamaican band Morgan Heritage promised Zimbabwean music fans a performance “ten times more” and that is exactly what they delivered at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) Sunday morning.

In fact, many among their fans, who were disappointed when the 2016 Grammy Award winners postponed their initial concert which was set for Harare’s City Sports Centre on December 31 last year, could be heard shouting that the famed reggae group had exceeded their promise.

Despite battling with sound issues, an issue which forced them to start at 1:30 am yesterday, much later than their initial scheduled start, the popular Jamaicans unleashed an avalanche of conscious reggae and dancehall tunes to a very receptive audience which hardly stopped dancing all night-long.

The Jamaicans started their set with the hit Strictly Roots before going a gear up with the popular Don’t Haffi Dread which elicited a raucous sing-along from the capacity crowd. Morgan Heritage then dropped hits such as So Amazing, Reggae Bring Back Love, Nothing To Smile About and Send Us Your Love much to the delight of the bumper crowd.

The internationally-acclaimed group’s performance was as diverse as it was intense. It included a dancehall section in which Roy “Gramps” Morgan showcased his versatility and a lovers rock part which was full of down-tempo songs.

After the rather slow lovers rock section there was need to pick up the tempo once more as the concert neared the end and only one song could do just that — I’m Coming Home. With Gramps, who was draped in Zimbabwe’s flag, delivering the song with his beautifully husky voice, the HICC became one big dancing stage. It was indeed a perfect finale to a great show.

Morgan Heritage also showed that its next generation of stars is equally talented. Jemere Morgan-the son of Gramps — opened for the Jamaican stars. He demonstrated why his collaboration with Chinese pop star Vision made the Billboard charts last year with an assured display which oozed with class. He performed tracks which included International Love, Try Jah Love and Anything You Want, off his forthcoming album called Transition.

All the Zimbabwean groups which shared the stage with Morgan Heritage did not disappoint. Zimdancehall artiste Freeman, who performed with a live band, gave a good account of himself while the ninja president Winky D was once again at his imperious best.

The highlight of his set was when he was joined by music superstar Tuku for the performance of their hot duet Panorwadza Moyo.

As has become the norm, Tuku delivered another great show though he had to contend with poor sound. The veteran music star, whose performance was watched by some members of Morgan Heritage, waited over half an hour to go on stage as engineers battled to rectify sound problems.

The music star, though, did not allow the sound problems to get in the way of his energetic and classy presentation.

Though 2 Kings Entertainment, who will bring to Zimbabwe Tanzanian music giant Diamond Platnumz on October 28 and Jamaican lovers rock star Jah Cure on December 16, should be happy with the crowd they attracted, they need to put their house in order as a matter of urgency before their flourishing brand gets damaged irreparably.

The failure by music fans in certain sections of the HICC to hear significant portions of the show could have a negative bearing on their forthcoming gigs.

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