The Opera House had a healthy turnout last Saturday April 9th, as the one and only Luciano backed by the Riddim Up Band (alongside Fujative – who I did not see due to my late arrival), were headliners for a fundraising concert purposed to support ‘programs for Dr. Roz’s Healing Place – a women’s and children’s shelter’. The show was a Pucca.ca Promotion, also featuring DJ African Star, and was hosted by Julian King (CanadianReggaeWorld.com). Here is the info the way it was slated on the promoter’s page…
“After the success of last years Fujahtive Reunion show we are upping the stakes to help Children and Women fleeing domestic abuse have a place of safety and hope. We are pleased to announce this years Reggae for Roz show featuring international Grammy Award Nominated Reggae star Luciano Messenjah will be peforming his positive and conscious brand of Reggae music with supporting band Riddim Up. Juno nominated Fujahtive opens things up with their eight piece band which inlcudes the renowned Brass Roots horn section All proceeds to are to support programs for Dr. Roz’s Healing place a women’s and children’s shelter. Tickets are $30 (limited supply) in advance and $40 at the door.”
Both myself and Lisa West (and Chris Dubbs) arrived inside the Opera House about 20 minutes inside Luciano’s set and went straight to work, first taking pictures and video from the balcony before making our way downstairs to the main floor where we then had to squeeze through a fair bit of crowd congestion in order to get to the front and to the stage. But it was all worth it, about 600 (or so) people were happily taking in the show as Luciano and his very tight Riddim Up Band seemed in their element as they went from tune to tune backed by a great lights and sound.
Luciano had been at the Opera House before, and has graced Toronto with his presence countless times. This night however was somewhat different, as the tone of his show was somewhat melancholy; maybe not everybody noticed, but Luciano, during his performance, was mourning the recent loss of his son, Menelik McClymont, 19, who was killed (stabbed to death) on February 27 along Maths Unlimited in Parkington Plaza, Kingston 10 (Jamaica) during a dispute with three men.
Luciano’s selection of songs seemed slated for the occasion; my guess is that most songs were tributes to the late Mr. McClymont. Luciano, despite his exhaustion and mental fatigue, was still giving his all to his audience, and understandably, if it all didn’t add up to 100%, that would be forgiven by an ovastanding crowd. At one point, Luciano even asked his audience who were in the midst of applauding after one of his songs were performed, to stop cheering and honor the loss of his son with a moment of silence, this before shedding tears as he performed (while kneeling), Knocking on Heaven’s Door (original Bob Dylan), in memory of his lost son. Understandably, the night would feature no celebratory acrobatics from front man Luciano who has been known to do cartwheels and back flips during past Toronto performances.
Big up Luciano and his band, a Canadian contingent including Tony Barret on guitar, Mikey Lee on drums, Andy Lee on base, Dave Jackson on keyboard, another keyboard player I don’t know, plus two talented female back up singers. And finally, big up all the people who came out to support the show.