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Concert reviews

Burning Spear @ Zenith, Paris on June 1st 2006

The Spear is Burning red hot!

Paris, Zenith, June 1st - 11.30 pm: after 2h30 min of a memorable live music act, the lights are finally turned back on. Whoever is in the Zenith at that moment knows that they’ve just taken part of an amazing performance by Winston Rodney and his band. Everyone walking toward the exit doors seems to be dazed and amazed.

I was at he Hammersmith Palais in London last August, and there’s little comparison to be done with tonight’s show. I had been a little disappointed by Burning Spear’s performance, which I thought was ok but not close to Winston Rodney’s standard and talent. But tonight, Burning Spear, who started their 2 month European tour on May 27th, gave the Paris audience a lesson of music, life, and engagement.

Winston Rodney, 58, and full of energy, took the crowd for a ride they’ll long remember. His voice, warm and so unique, made us travel through his albums, with no less than 19 songs played, amongst which 4 tunes of his famous Marcus Garvey LP. The crowd responded cheerfully not only to Winston Rodney’s voice, but also to his percussions solos that fired up about everyone in the audience. What is spectacular and remarkable is his capacity to captivate everyone’s attention and deliver his message with means other than words! It’s not so often that you get the lead singer play the percussions, like Winston Rodney does, and it’s not a surprise that it appeals to the audience in such a way because playing the congas or any type of percussions is a universal language and about as powerful and meaningful as singing lyrics.

Musically, the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone added some volume and an interesting touch to this ensemble. Throughout the show, Winston Rodney relentlessly kept on delivering his message of humanity, respect and tolerance. It makes me think of the lyrics from Max Romeo LP “One Step Forward”: “Straight is the road to destruction, The road to righteousness is narrow” and how relevant they are these days…With tonight’s concert, Winston Rodney, like many reggae ambassadors but like no one else in his style and attitude, took us on a trip with a clear intention to show us the way of a narrow but righteous path…

Review by Briac Le Camus© 2006

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