Firehouse, August 24, 2000
Buju blew through town last night, Aug. 24th, and blew everyone away at the Firehouse.
Got there at 9:15 and the place was packed. By 10:00 there was nothing happening (as usual) as the promoter is notorious for being late and basically clueless. A local band was scheduled, then Ras Shiloh then Buju with Wayne Wonder. And there's a 1 a.m. curfew. So I figured it would be another ridiculous evening, with Buju taking the stage around Midnight then having to leave an hour later.
Well, right after 10, Wayne Wonder took the stage for a nice 30 minute set backed by the Shiloh Band. No opening local band and no Ras Shiloh. At 10:30 I figured they'd take a long break but Buju came out immediately and played all the way up til 12:15. Quite surprising and really excellent. Started off with a recording of the "Intro" from Unchained Spirit, then proceeded to rock the house. Buju was in constant motion, 'locks flying, as he put on a great show.
From the new release he played "Life Is A Journey," "Better Must Come," "Mighty Dread" (which was a scorcher), "Woman Dem Phat," "Pull It Up" and encored with "23rd Psalm."
From Shiloh: "Til I'm Laid To Rest," "Murderer," "Champion," "Not An Easy Road," "Only Man" "How Could You" and "Wanna Be Loved." >From Inna Heights: "Our Father In Zion," "Destiny," "Cry No More," Give I Strength," "Close One Yesterday," "Love Sponge" and a wicked version of "Hills And Valleys" where he really changed the pace up which was cool.
Wayne Wonder didn't come out for the encore when Buju did "Movie Star" but I later learned he wasn't feeling well.
The crowd was pretty receptive. On the well-known songs the place went crazy. Some of the newer ones they weren't sure what was going on. I thought "Mighty Dread" was one of the highlights, but not many people were familiar with it. And "Life Is a Journey" and "Better Must Come" was superb.
Buju was talkative on the mic. He's a conscious artist with a lot to say. The only parts of the show I didn't really care for was when he did some of his Dancehall. I just don't get it. I was watching him and he was still all over the place, but the rhythm just doesn't move me. It was still enjoyable but personally, give me the roots all day long...
Skankin in St. Louis
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