@ 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 Blue
Mango 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
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
© Michael Valentine Studio