For almost two hours, reggae artiste Mark Myrie, aka “Buju Banton” delivered from his portfolio of hits to an ecstatic crowd of 35,000 fans. His Long Walk to Freedom opening evening was a resounding success and the consummate performer did not miss a beat, from the opener Not An Easy Road to the finale with his beautiful rendition of the 23rd Psalm.
Dressed in an all-white ensemble with his dreadlocks flowing free, a pensive Buju Banton stepped on stage around 11:20 pm and opened his set with a worship song asking, “Lamb of God, Have Mercy on Me” in which took a bended knee. He then seamlessly flowed into Not An Easy Road and proceeded to take the audience on a musical journey through hit after hit while dancing his way across the stage with the agility of a young man. Any questions if the decade away from the limelight had taken a toll on his showmanship were soon answered resoundingly. Classics such as Hills And Valleys and Destiny were interspersed with dancehall hits such as Champion and Too Bad. He was carried through the evening by an impeccable performance by the “Til Shiloh Band”.
The set involved several collaborations, as he invited the likes of Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, Wayne Wonder and Gramps Morgan to join him on stage.
Beres Hammond and Buju Banton
Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder
Buju Banton and Marcia Griffiths
Gramps Morgan and Buju
His finals words closing the evening were “We Love You“. The performance seemed cathartic, his troubles now relegated to the past and his sins forgiven by his people. Fireworks erupted in the sky over Kingston’s National Stadium to welcome back the Gargamel.