Good afternoon – this is Ron Nelson shouting out all of the fans who attended the TIMELESS CLASSICS concert last night at Sound Academy featuring Sanchez and Freddie McGregor live in concert. The show was a success from all accounts, and by midnight, there were close to 2,500 people inside the venue (mu unofficial guesstimate). In terms of audience dynamics – I should point out that the Timeless audience was made up of an older more mature reggae fan base, big people ting! Because of this, it should have been no surprise to promoters that with big people shows, audiences tend to arrive early, which was the case this night. The downside of this was seeing the Sound Academy parking lot get full rather quickly which created problems for regular late comers who had to turn around to find alternative parking, not to mention organizers who, for these reasons (as well as regular Toronto traffic congestion) could not pull off delivering the said artists to the venue on time for the advertised performance times. Having said that, let’s move on….
The first band to perform (the first that I saw) was the Human Rights Band led by vocalists “Friendlyness” (Rasta) and “Treson” (baldhead). This band came full with drummer, keyboardist, two guitarists, a three man horn section, etc. Graphically, they were interesting, not to mention that from an audience point of view, it looked like an all-white band on stage belting out some great reggae for a good 30 minutes and having fun doing it, all the while knowing that the crowd did not know their material. This Toronto band though, is experienced, confident, talented and very hardworking; big them up!
At 1:18 am, the big show finally started, (somewhat awkwardly-the audience were getting cross) with Sanchez starting things off still with a dynamic and golden voice which alone would be like a cure for a skeptical audience who had grown impatient and wanted the show to start (at this point event Stone Love were having problems keeping the crowd – they would go on the mic several times to let the crowd know the late start situation was not their fault and out of their hands).
Sanchez did his usual good show (I’ve seen him perform better), performing a medley of hits that also included some classic Dennis Brown, some Gospel (I didn’t know any of this, but everyone around me were singing these Gospel tunes word for word – do I need ore church?), as well as his own “timeless” classics. The massive, mostly female, loved his performance and by 2:10 am, the Sanchez (52 minute) show was complete, and now it was time for Freddie McGregor.
The first thing I’ll say is I thought Freddie would’ve opened this show, but having him as the show closer was probably the greatest thing, as he couldn’t have done a better job of recapturing a crowd that was still hungry for more after paying between $45 to $100 to attend “Timeless Classics”, and who were demanding to get their full money’s worth for their investment. No stranger to Toronto, Freddie is a smooth operator, an experienced performer who has this city pon lock – he had no problems taking control of the 80 percent female audience and delivering a really good performance that also included a surprise encore after already going all out for what already seemed like an hour long show.
Big up Freddie, Sanchez’s may be a songbird, but Freddie is more rounded showman and better show closer who really knows how to communicate with an audience (vs. a shy Sanchez who just kept belting out tunes without much to say to his fans)! Freddie appreciated his fans, and his fans appreciated Freddie, and big him up for his upcoming birthday. It was nice to see Sanchez return to the stage to sing happy birthday to Freddie, who was also presented with a special cake and everything. Freddie took it all in stride, used to the love, yet humble, poised and rock steady, just wanting to keep singing and performing, doing things that only veterans can do. Just a note – Big up Rosa too (Soul-to-Soul), he’s turning 67 later this week and appears in great health!
All in all, it was a good night, my only criticism – if the organization was a bit tighter and the show started when the audience was peaked, it would’ve been a much better night for the massive – they had to put up with a lot, and standing from 9 pm – 4 am is not an easy task for everyone. When all is said and done however, I’ll still big up the promoters for pulling off a difficult yet successful event. Big up all the people who bought their tickets from ReggaeMania.com! – sorry I was sold out early and couldn’t help out all of you who were scrambling for tickets right up until show time.
Pics and Videos by Ron Nelson (apologies for the distorted Audio)
Timeless Classics ft Sanchez & Freddie at Sound Academy