Sunday, February 19, 2006

machel concert ramp

Machel Montano on stage at the 2006 Alternative Experience show

So your boy hear that Minshall sending he king to Machel big Alternative Concept show on Saturday night in the Savannah, and he decide he have to go and maco. He make two, three phone calls and pull one, two lil' strings, and in the end he photographer friend M--- get he a press pass, all-access.

So I pull up in the Savannah last night, right by Casuals corner, and first I can't believe how many people it have there. Machel people build one big arena right there on the grass, big stage with bandshell and towers and lights and hot air balloons and I don't know what else. And it look like we might have to park all the way in St. Clair, they have so many cars, but then the policeman see those magic all-access plastic cards and let us park right behind the stage with all the big-shots. And we slip right in the gate in the back where all the crew and singers and dancers and groupies liming, and we pass right outside all the big stars' dressing rooms (which is really tents, because the amazing thing is the whole thing get build in a few days and will take down just as fast, and I looking at everything and thinking 'bout what Minshall say the other day, that instead of knocking down the Grand Stand and building a massive ugly expensive Carnival "centre" in the people nice Savannah, why we can't just put up a state-of-the-art temporary city every year with big pretty tents and lights and stages, and on Ash Wednesday take it down again so the rest of the year the grass could grow and people could play they cricket and fly they kites?).

It have so many people inside of there, we get confuse, but eventually we end up inside the VIP section and bounce up some friends, and we manage to get some drinks and then push up near the stage to see Alison Hinds performing her songs. But like the band didn't have time to practise, and Alison talking too much in between the songs, and everybody waiting for the real show to start. People keep stepping on people foot, and your boy get confuse when some fella just turn around and hand he two Caribs. So I give one to Georgia and I stick one in my righthand pocket, and you know when we decide we moving out from the crowd the same fella come up and say, You owe me two beers? I pull out the one from my pocket and say, You could have this one back.

So we say we going to look for where the Callaloo crew waiting, and we bounce up Ashraph with a big grin on he face, and he show us where Son hiding in a corner under some scaffolding, waiting for Machel to go on stage. All Minshall people there, dressed in black as usual, and we decide when the time come we going to just follow Son up the ramp so we could see him dance from right by the edge of the stage.

By now we thirsty, so we gone back backstage and a set of Carib girls in bikini costumes nearly run us down, and we trying to pass by the dressing rooms but the police lady don't want to let a fella through because he don't have no pass. Is Mr. Vegas, somebody say. And when we reach the bar we fighting up with must be a hundred people and the bartender sour sour, but we see some more friends and finally we get some drinks, and then we realise Machel about to come on stage, so we run back in front and squeeze in the Callaloo corner.

Attillah climb up on the scaffolding, so I climb up too, because I want to see how many people there in the crowd, and when I look is only people and lights, like the whole Savannah covered, and somebody say, they print eight thousand tickets, but it look more like ten thousand to me. But the scaffolding starting to shake, so we come down, and any case Son getting ready to go up on stage, and everybody tense because it have so many people by the ramp, and when Machel come on is one explosion of smoke and confetti and everybody screaming and waving, and the Callaloo crew fighting to clear some space. I see two policewoman holding hands and trying to keep people back, and Cherisse the Callaloo production manager take she walking stick and clear the whole ramp, and stand up like she will lick down anybody who get in the way.

Meantime Machel have the crowd crazy, and if is one thing you could say 'bout that boy, he don't hold back when he on stage, he moving like he's a superstar, and ten thousand people in love with him, and he know it. And Son just waiting by the side of the stage, nodding and smiling he smile, and all the Callaloo crew trying to keep him from getting crushed, and I standing right by the outlet for the wind machine and one cold breeze blowing in my tail, and I trying to get up by the edge of the ramp so I could see what going to happen. And Wendell only looking up at the video screen to see when is time for Son to move, and on the side of the stage a fella supposed to give the cue, but he only nodding all the time and getting everybody tie up.

And then we hear the start of Son big song--"Heart of a Man"--and I see Minshall Sacred Heart symbol on the video screen, and everybody saying Go, go! and Son trying to get up the ramp, but they build it too steep and it have six, seven people pushing him from behind, and I hear Machel say, Who here love Peter Minshall? and people screaming, and I trying to see what happening, and Georgia in front of me shouting, Media, media! and I nearly trip by the ramp but I get up and I almost by the stage now, and Son dancing, and I standing there like I stupid, just staring, I not even taking pictures, and I want to tell somebody how lovely Son looking, but nobody could hear a damn thing. And is then a police come right in front of me and start to push, and half the Callaloo crew behind he and half in front.

And now Son turn around and he coming down the ramp, and everybody fighting to make room, and some crazy fella on a motorbike only revving like he want to run everybody down, and they trying to get Son back under the scaffolding, and then finally everything finish. Except it not really finish, because Machel still on stage and the show have hours to go, but is, what, two-thirty, and they packing up Son to go home, and I ready to go home too, because is only now I start to feel tired.

I pick up a black feather that fall off of Son next to the ramp and stick it in my pocket. I waiting for Georgia, who gone off to some Japanese star dressing room, and I just sitting in a corner feeling stunned.

Outside the fence people standing and listening to the music--it so loud you not even bound to go inside. We find a young lady sitting by the car parked next to ours looking vex. She tell us she can't get in the car because (she wave she hand) "The driver in there playing the drums".

And the moon bright and I only thinking, is eight days till J'Ouvert.

machel concert alyson & kerwin

Alyson Brown, Kerwin Paul, and ten thousand people waiting for Peter Minshall's king Son of Saga Boy to take the stage at the Alternative Concept show

Say what:


Georgia/Caribbean Free Radio said...

Eh, eh -- Nikipedia writing in dialect now. Sam Selvon and Guyana-gyal watch out!

tracy said...


Sharon said...

N, Thank you! I'm P.M.'s (not Manning) niece, and currently reside in Abu Dhabi - am missing the mas tremendously, but you have brought it to me in the most enjoyable and vivid accounts. I look forward to more...

Dylan said...


Mad Bull said...

Sound like it was irie... Good reporting. Bus out inna dialect whenever you ready, you hear sah... nuttin nuh wrong wid dat.