ALIVE AGAIN: Spice for Life – Can it really be one night only for Barbados? Say it ain’t so!
When I was in my 20’s I used to be one of the first voices on Yess FM, now Love 104.1, I was also an open advocate for Spice & Co, sometimes to criticism from within VOB itself and at other times from Government entities (Noel “Barney” Lynch, as a Jr Member of the Tourism Authority at the time had a war of words with me when Spice’s T-Shirt band was the best and the next year NCF restricted T-Shirt bands in the way they compete and he called me to blast me for rebuking NCF on the air, LOL).
Many a Thursday I would head for After Dark or Saturdays go Harbour Lights, to check Roger Foster, Dean Straker, Alan Sheppard & crew. (Went to Harrison College with Alan and Dean they were at 6th form when I arrived in 1.3, LOL) The team would change every now and then (Michael “Smasher” Cadogan was not there, Spice’s second percussionist after Greg Skeete who was on hand for a guest appearance) except for Alan, Dean and Roger.
At different times there was Maxi Taylor (Drums), John Roett (Keyboards), Aja (Trombone), Ifie (African Drums), Jan/Tamara – backing vocals and so forth… When the group disbanded in 1994, I had stopped watching after Alan took his hiatus, for a while Biggie Irie and John King tried to fill Alan’s Seven League Timberlands and failed just as massively.
Flash forward to present; I made sure to get there by 5:00 pm, which was a good thing as I understood that traffic was backed up all the way to Hothersal Turning because of the concert. I was not surprised, many folk guestimated the place was packed to between 8,000 to 10,000 loyal fans! Spice had a great marketing tool for their memorabilia – a T-Shirt and CD for just $50, well of course I got one of each immediately (Yes, they had my size, thanks! 😛)
So the universe righted itself last night and suddenly I was half my age all over again and here was my favourite Bajan group thundering across the stage like a Bajan Pantheon rivalling Asgard or T’ir N’a Nog. “Irie Feeling” blasting through the speakers and through my veins as the real Spice played again last night! Irie indeed (irie; Rasta slang for good or cool)!
I am exhausted but happily so, was out ’til nearly midnight basking in the reunion of Spice & Co on the grounds of the Globe Drive-In last night. Even the deejay playing before the band came on was a show in itself, keeping the crowd rocking and dancing with tunes from the Police, UB40, Prince, Steel Pulse, B 52’s, Outfield, Pluto Shervington and many other 80’s classics!
Unlike poor Rachel Price in TT when Beyonce passed by there, VIP patrons in Barbados were treated like Royalty or second cousins to Mt Olympus… The Bartenders were fast and always smiling, Food queues were long, but with a vast choice of chili & rice, fishcakes, corn soup, burgers/hotdogs, and pasta salad no wonder! I didn’t even need my folding chair, I was on my feet either snapping pictures or dancing and singing along!
Vic Fernandes from Starcom with wife Fereida, Glenda Medford – President of the Chamber of Commerce and her hubby, Tony Walcott of the Employers Confederation with his wife Cicely (late of the Tourism Authority), Miss World contestant Leah Marville, Patrick Hinkson – VP of TeleBarbados (Hear they have a special of landline & Broadband for $145 per month – call 620-1000 to verify), Fashionista Toni Thorne, Richard Cozier of Banks Holdings were some of the many VIP’s who were buzzing about next to the stage.
Spice did the cat, duck, cow, horse, goat and puppy last night! For one of their hits “Guns,” it involved the Zouaves of the Defence Force marching from by the Restaurant at the back of Globe Drive-In right up to the stage and then on to the stage itself… There was the time when Alan undid his ponytail clasp and let his sunbleached tresses fly as he chanted “Dreadlocks” to the enraptured crowd – while there were many white folk present, nevertheless black Bajans were also out in full force. It was good to see such a unifying entity as Music to make everyone come out of their shell!
Both Dean and Alan would take turns at reminiscing to the audience as to how or why songs got to be composed, like “Sad Love” which when it originally debuted, part proceeds of 45 RPM sales (a 45 is a vinyl disk for younger readers) went to the Cancer Society, this tune was also about one of Alan’s girlfriends at the time according to Dean Straker. While “Rebel In Britain” was about poor Greg Skeete’s strip-search in Heathrow when they arrived in the UK for the first time.
The band used the Cavite Chorale for “Give Them Freedom” and Spice also did their lesser known hot of “Layne” about a ‘bad-john‘ in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Spice also did a Crop Over medley, but Congaline was saved for their massive Encore at the end (There was one man who was very obnoxious and bellicose in screaming for them to return to the stage, ahem!) and that is when the place went berserk VIP or not! Then came the massive fireworks and Alvin Toppin and crew played hit after hit when it was time to dismantle the equipment…
My voice was raw, my feet hurt but I was just thanking God to be able to witness such a glorious spectacle, and I truly hope they will return for Crop Over or Christmas and this was a test run, don’t you? I have a survey on Poll-Daddy, fill it out please!
What a night indeed Ian…. and as usual, having you in a crowd of us old-timers just set the mood right. So wonderful to have such a great set of people together… literally from ages 2 to 82 (well, 83, my mum was there too). Barbados has a lot to be proud of in the entertainment industry over and away, but lemme tell ya.. when it comes to entertaining your own people in your own playground… home drums beat the loudest. Saturday was awe-inspiring, fun, rejuvenating and showed that regardless of colour, age or distinguished degree, music is the great equalizer. Power to Barbadians for showing such loyal support, and power to Spice for being the strength behind another interpretation of “One Love”.
The people have spoken;” We miss you Spice! ”
Let’s make this an annual event; same time, same place!