They promised a night of wholesome calypso and something for the entire family to enjoy. Last Saturday, night The Experience Tent delivered just that when it opened for the season at Ball Park
in Christ Church.
Most attendees, leaving contented, were overheard saying what an excellent experience it was.
Two-time Pic-O-De-Crop semi-finalist Billboard was the standout for the night. His witty but serious Lick Dem presented his views on corporal punishment, earning him not one, but two encores. Complementing his self-penned and self-arranged song was his attire as an old man and a presentation that made his performance superb.
Billboard’s other self-written and self-arranged State Of De Art, not far removed in quality, also got an encore.
Apache, the long-standing member of The Experience, who has been in the line-up every year since the tent’s inception in 2004, was excellent with Mr Forgetful, arranged by Billboard, and For The People. Both also received encores.
Providing Apache remembers his lines, it will be hard to leave him out of this year’s Pic-O-De-Crop Semi-Finals.
Sammi Jane’s rendition of I Refuse was masterful, earning her as well an encore. She will offer her second social commentary at next week’s show. She closed the show with her Sweet Soca entry Work.
De Blackeagle was absolutely clear with his lyrics and immaculate in appearance in his two self-written and Mike Sealy-arranged Condemnation and We Want To Live.
The three newcomers to The Experience gave good accounts of themselves. And encores were requested of Vision after his gripping performance of Barbados En Gem No More and My Home. He too wrote both of his songs.
Ambassador has transitioned to being a calypsonian this year, after two years as a background vocalist. He too received an encore for The Life Song, and was good with You Have To Abstain. Both his Billboard-arranged songs were written by him.
The third newcomer, Delicia B, a 19-year-old with Willams syndrome, who has a passion for singing, has found a welcoming home in The Experience. She was confident in her rendition of De Harvest.
De Salt opened the night sharing the story of his near-death experience of August 13 last year, after suffering a stroke. He knows that it is because of a miracle from God that he is not only alive, but able to minster again this Crop Over.
Veteran Njeri shared one of his Pic-O-De-Crop entries, God Bless Bim, in the second half.
The Experience throws open its doors again this Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. The tent will be judged on Wednesday, June 29, at 7:30 p.m. All performances will be at Ball Park Events & Entertainment Centre.