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Issue 1084

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John Lennon Tribute Concert: Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12

Maxi Priest: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12
Maxi Priest: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Joy T Barnum: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Uzimon: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Tiffany Paytner (poet): John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Eroll Reid Roy Young: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Eroll Reid Roy Young: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 The crowd lovin' even minute: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Maxi Priest: John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Bigger Irie: John Lennon Tribute concert, Bermuda 21/09/12 Uzimon in action at  John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 John Lennon Tribute concert fans: Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 The crowd in an expectant mood at John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Uzimon (backstage):  John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12 Eroll Reid chilin' before John Lennon Tribute concert, Botanical Gardens, Bermuda 21/09/12

Thirty two years ago John Lennon visited the botanical gardens in Bermuda where he stumbled across the intriguing double fantasy flower, which became the title of his last album, so it was only fit and proper that the island's tribute to him was held in these magnificent surroundings. Conditions were perfect for a glorious evening to unfold as international acts and local talent were the order of the day.

First up-the smokey and sensuous sounding Rachel Brown with an interesting interpretation of "Watching The Wheels" which did her rep no harm at all. Rachel has already opened for Wyclef Jean and John Legend and judging on this brief appearance I can see why. Artist after artist piled through the vast canon of Lennon's work, nearly two dozen different acts in fact. Jonathan Frith's take on "Beautiful Boy" being a particular highlight along with his, Heather Nova's and Christina Frith's acapella version of "Because." They sung like angels and simply stunned the crowd with their sheer technical brilliance and for one silent moment you could hear the tree frogs join in! The vocal talents of the Judy Tzuke family shone too with the exquisite "Love" from Lennon's first solo album - an exceptional ballad, so plaintive and fragile.

There were a few mismatches however, the talented and beautiful Bailey Outerbridge bravely attempted "Revolution" but was woefully misplaced on this gruff Beatles classic. It was never meant as a pop song, still I caught her solo gig a few days later and the lass showed promise. However the night was in danger of becoming rather reverential and a little bit of grit and dirt was now what was required and it came in the shape of pianist/singer Roy Young, an old sparring partner of the Beatles back in their Hamburg days - gruff, raw and ready to rock Roy dispatched a volley of good time Rock & Roll and old school R&B, taking the concert by the scruff of the neck/shifting it up another gear - just like he use to do on a nightly basis in Hamburg! "Slow Down" which has been covered by everyone from the Fab Four to the Jam was particularly good, and sax player Deric Dyer lifted people off their seats with his imperious tones - top notch! Roy the wild card of the evening, kicked ass! So did local spoken word artist Tiffany Paytner, who started off ruffling feathers with her eulogy calling Lennon an A**hole! Well if you know about his 'lost weekend' then you can't argue with her, let's just say it was a balanced critique, her flow was cool and engaging and thankfully she was in Lennon's corner!

Biggie Irie came on next and wowed us with 'Woman," in a fitting lilting reggae style, as did Uzimon with his standout version of "New York City" and also the fantastic Errol Reid (China black). Afterwards the Chewstick Collective brought some JB funk into the house getting their groove on with "Power To The People." Of merit too, was the striking Joy T Barnum with her glorious take on "Mind Games', she nailed that one good and proper and hit my sweet spot too! So the scene was set for the main attraction of the night Maxi Priest! His star might be on the wane but he shows no signs of letting up, prizefighter Maxi knows a thing or two about owning the stage, in fact he was trying to own the night! Despite his Michael Caine joke shop glasses, Maxi showed why he is still a main contender. He tore the place apart with some of his classics including "Wild World" and his glorious jump jive version of "All My Loving" (a sneaky Macca song stuck in for good measure) set the place alight. The crowd was up for a bit of lovebombing as all the participants including myself got up and sang the rousing "Give Peace A Chance," rather fitting since it was international peace day!

All in all this was a highly polished affair and organisers Friesenbruch & Brannon have certainly raised the stakes for next year. A spectacular night on this enchanting island, no wonder Lennon loved Bermuda - it's easy to see why! It will be interesting to see how things develop especially for the Bermudian talent. Judging by this I have to admit they could be onto a winner! Watch out for the album next year also, it's great!

For more John Lennon Tribute in Bemuda info visit doublefantasybermuda.com

Images Emrys Baird
Words Emrys Baird

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