The greatest performers always leave their adoring fans salivating for more and that is exactly what reggae maestro John Holt did.
The Mango Tree on Shedden Road had never seen such a crowd. The place was packed for a very good reason; Holt was playing here for the first time in four years, an eternity when the vast Jamaican community and lovers of old-school, foundation music here consider his best work a part of the soundtrack of their lives.
The one-off concert last Friday was to celebrate Hot 104.1FM’s reggae DJ Cachas ‘Super C’ Stewart’s 25 years in the music industry.
Even though he is only 39 and started in the industry as a yout’, Super C obviously has tremendous pulling power to get an artist as seasoned and revered as 65-year-old Holt to compromise his fee to accommodate the West Bayer who was giving part proceeds to his football team, Future Sports Club.
Having made the hop from Miami, Holt came on in resplendent leather jacket and Armani black jeans and ably backed by the local Unity band he opened with Stick By Me to a roar of approval. Love I Can Feel and If I was a Carpenter got suitable responses,
It’s a mark of his professionalism that Holt repeatedly asked the crowd which of his extensive catalogue they wanted to hear. Shirley Bassey’s Never, Never, Never came next, acapela style, “because we did not have time to rehearse it,” he apologised needlessly.
Sweetie Come Brush With Me was sung in unison with the crowd before he changed tone with the social message in Tribal War, about peace in the ghetto. Up Camp Park followed, a particular favourite, then came the endearing Tonight, Queen of the Ghetto in acapela, before Stealing almost stole the show followed by Ali Baba, On the Beach, Police in Helicopter and the farewell song arrived all too quickly.
Help Me Make It Through the Night really launched his career in the Seventies which hit the top of the British charts and made Holt an international name. He closed with that and we certainly needed more to help us make it through the night but that didn’t come.
No encore, sadly, which deprived us of his smash Tide Is High, popularised by Blondie and later Atomic Kitten.
We also did not hear Fancy Make Up, Touch Me In the Morning, Time is the Master, Wild Fire, Mr Bojangles and the classic singalong Stoned Out of my Mind.
General Trees closed the show with his amusing dancehall wit.
Memorable night and fully deserving for Super C.