It was a sweet trip down memory lane when diehard soca fans came out to the Ball Park Entertainment Centre on Saturday night to support De Ole Dawg Grynner and some of his friends.
Backed by the fantastic Royal Barbados Police Force Band, which never disappoints, it was a sing-a-long session with some of the stalwarts of the soca era.
First out of the blocks was Serenader, bedecked in a white suit covered in musical notes. The veteran performer showed that age is but a number as he belted out some of his hit songs from back in the day. Not only was the former calypso king in fine voice, but he showed that he is still capable of those trademark waistline movements as he worked up a sweat on Juck Fuh Juck and Breakdown. His stint included favourites, Steel and Soca Coup.
Next out was the original Mr Energy Ras Iley. He too showed no signs of losing his touch as he entertained the audience with an energetic performance. Early in his set he performed Encore and King of the Stage. He was joined by the headliner Grynner for De Two Uh We. Seeing the two musical icons share the stage was a definite treat.
The diminutive dynamo continued his set with Make De Way and Expose. He ended his appearance on a high with the ever-popular Spring Garden and Inez.
Throughout his performance, his equally energetic super fan Betty Oma, who was well into her seventies, kept pace with him, running the width of the stage with him throughout.
When Grynner returned to the stage for his full performance, there was no doubt as to why he is deserving of the title King of the Road. He interspersed some of his songs with a slower momentum with the high energy tracks with which he is synonymous.
His 45-minute session included Suzie From The Country, Ah Comin, 3 Gs, Zook Me, Gabby Controversy, Walk and Whine and Bajan Yankee. Patrons were left satisfied when he upped the tempo with More Grynner and Leggo I Hand. The perennial Road March King closed out with the classic Mr T.
Speaking to the media during intermission, host for the evening Kirk Brown sought to explain the modest turnout.
“The target market is that mature demographic, so we also respect that those persons are at high risk. The 50-, 60-, 70-year-olds are not coming out of their homes. That’s why we have it available on Crop Over TV pay-per-view so that those persons can enjoy it from the comfort of their homes.”
Event producer Merle Niles acknowledged that this has been a difficult time for many. “It is a depressing time for a lot of people, so we are trying to put a bit of joy in them, all is not lost really. It’s what people call the ‘new norm’ and we must find ways to make it work for everybody.”
Team Inc, with Hallam Nicholls at the helm, has some other productions in the works. The next featured performer will be RPB. He will be joined by Classic and the indomitable Mac Fingall performing double duties as emcee and singer.
Gospel lovers are also being catered to, with a production which will headline Sister Marshall and will feature performances by Keann, Josiah and Damien Smith all backed by the youthful Kloud 9 Band.
The cast of the Big Show Tent will also be featured in one of the planned shows. All these events will take place at the open-air Ballpark Entertainment Centre, since it comfortably allows for the social distancing protocols to be enforced.