I've known that Barbados had a drive-in movie theatre but never yet had the chance to go there to see a film. So, it was ironic that I went there last night, but to see a pop music concert, when Spice & Company went live again. Whatever its merits for films, the Globe is a great venue for live music. Would it be a place to use for that more often? When Barbadians think about ways to boost their brand of tourism it's not always clear that they know how to value the good assets. But, leave that for now. Let's get into the Irie feeling from last night.
No sooner had we negotiated the parking (with at least five people pointing us in different directions) and entered, than I had a microphone pressed into my face to offer comments on the upcoming concert. The reporter wanted the view of a non-Bajan, so I was a fitting choice. I admitted that I had not listened to Spice that much in their hey day as they did not penetrate England very much. Funny then that one of their songs, 'Rebel in London', recounted their unfortunate experiences at Heathrow (including a strip search) when they visited London to try to secure a recording contract.
Emile Straker's Merrymen had made their brand of Barbadian Calypso popular, for four decades since the early 1960s. Spice & Company, led by Emile's son, Dean, made popular a certain brand of Barbadian reggae-inspired music. Spice & Company came alive again to present their well-known songs and take many back into the 1980s.
It was an eerie feeling to watch Allan Shepphard, with streaked hair, flashing back his locks, waving his arms, high stepping across the stage and singing "Irie feeling". Make no bones about it, Barbadians were out in full force to support a group that truly reflected them: the group's appeal clearly crossed the racial line. Older white poppers were winding better than many younger white poppers. Black Soca fans rubbed up against some white neighbours. Spice allowed everyone to put as much salt and pepper together to suit all tastes.
Reggae fanatics did not worry that Dean Straker did not have locks and looked dressed for a spell of military duty. The band brought on Gospel singers and found a place for the ubiquitous Defence Force marching band. All was fair in the dark of the night.
The music was what it needed to be: fresh, lively, organized, clean lyrics, involved the crowd, filled with energy. The crowd got the encore they wanted. The VIPs looked to have been well treated. Food, from the famous Snackette or elsewhere,was not too expensive and fresh tasting. The tail gaters had a ball as they pulled drink and food from their ample coolers. The rockers got going early and conger liners had to wait awhile before they hear their song and reeled off in a snaking line through the area up to the Snackette. Friends greeted each other and forget the years.
The concert finished with a great flourish. With the band gone from the stage, the parting onlookers were treated to a spectacular fireworks show. I loved it but could not wonder with the recent spate of cane fires if this was going to leave a nasty taste if we saw smouldering fields the next day. Gladly it did not. So, I have tunes rocking in my head now and still a good Irie feeling.
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