@ Pigeon Island, St. Lucia Jazz Festival
11 May 2007
Click an image to enlarge.
The beauty and charm of Pigeon Island
during the day, or night, never fails to excite the senses. With
the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Caribbean Sea on the other,
delicately lit palm trees gently kissing the sky, combined with
the anticipation of a tremendous musical experience is surely enough
to warm the coolest hearts.
Mother Nature is constantly reminding us that ‘she
is in control’. In 2005, Babyface and attending Pigeon Island
patrons were soaked by torrential rain. His gig was eventually cancelled.
Thankfully Mother Nature relented in 2006, allowing a smiling Babyface
to return to the Pigeon Island stage to finish what he had started.
Tonight’s show was a confirmed sell out at
least three days earlier (a rare feat for a weekday performance
so I was told). But with Grammy Award winning John Legend headlining,
the rush for tickets was no surprise.
The overcast sky, still, ultra humid air was enough evidence of
what Mother Nature had in store. The question on most sky gazers
lips this evening was, when? How long? And what a shame if! Stagehands
and mixing engineers worked frantically to set up for the accomplished
who where poised to start this evening’s proceedings. Patrons
tentatively filled the neatly organised plastic chairs…
then the rain came.
The once neatly organised plastic chairs were instantly transformed
into umbrellas. Caring patrons shared large golfing umbrellas. Patrons
without hand held protection huddled into the sound mixing area
or stage front protected by the overhanging tarpaulin.
All who were left simply danced to the soulful tunes blasting from
stage speakers. Thankfully the rain did stop. And fifteen minutes
later any newcomers to Pigeon Island would not have even been aware
of the downpour. (Such is the power of a hot climate).
John Legend strategically strutted onto stage to rapturous applause
and screams from a largely female crowd… or perhaps the men
had been forced to the back? His broad smile (or tight tee-shirt
and trousers) seemed to cast a spell over the female throng who
had surged forward forcing press, photographers and even security
teams to one side. Legend bravely flirted and teased with the many
female hands that reached up and out to grab as he, and his fans
sang “Do U Wanna Ride”! Eventually he sat at the centre
stage grand piano, still smiling, playing, and teasing his awe-struck
audience into submission.
Legend ‘s acclaimed albums “Get Lifted” and the
recently released “Once Again” are filled with soulful,
hip-hop, gospel enthused gems, which skilfully pay homage to many
soul legends still with us, and those from the past. Tonight, it
seemed as though every song was carefully written for every woman
at Pigeon Island (single, attached, young and almost young). “Heaven
(Only Knows)” “I’ll Take You High” and the
Latin enthused “Alright” receiving full vocal attention
from all who recognised his songs within the first few words.
Legend continued his stage strut, microphone in hand wooing his
audience. Perhaps the earlier rain was literally heaven sent. Perhaps
Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom knew the young ladies at stage
front would need cooling down. Legend himself had also worked up
a sweat, at one point threatening to throw his soaked waistcoat
into the crowd. The heat continued to rise as Legend finally held
onto a hand reaching up from the throng below. A lucky Nicola Worrell
was guided onto the stage hugging, caressing and wining with a now
dripping wet John Legend. What more could a young woman ask for…
to come all the way from London to share the stage with John Legend
in St. Lucia? A smiling Nicola Worrell was eventually led off the
stage thanking everyone and everything in sight.
Legend, the showman, had the audience in the palm of his hand from
the outset. The stage, and the audience truly belonged to him. Yet,
he never took things for granted. He continued to work until the
very last note was played (or sung). His audience screamed, begged
and cried for more. They were rewarded with “So High”.
A fitting finale to an amazing show.
John Legend – vocals / piano
Report by Robin Francis & Carole Clemesha
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.