GRAMMY award-winning Jamaican reggae-dancehall musician Anthony Moses Davis, popularly known as Beenie Man, left thousands of his Zimbabwean fans disappointed as he failed to perform to expectations early Sunday morning at the inaugural Spring Festival at Alexandra Sports Club in Harare.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
While purported to be the King of Dancehall, Beenie Man’s crown was put to the test and it was the native Ninja President, Winky D, who won hearts of the many after he electrified the atmosphere and set the bar higher than the former’s stretch.
Conflicting with the massive hype and euphoria to the build-up for his performance courtesy of the concert co-organisers 2 Kings Entertainment, who put up a well-organised show of international standards, the reaction to the actual delivery by Beenie Man with his full band was rather lukewarm.
Regardless of some of his tracks such as King of the Dancehall, Gimmie Gimmie, World Dance, Who Am I and Who You Wanna Dis being popular in the country as they received massive airplay on local radio stations and rocked night clubs, the night belonged to Winky D with his well-prescribed playlist made of both latest and yester year tunes captivated with an energetic performance.
The King of the Dancehall hit maker, who was in the country as part of his Unstoppable Tour in Africa, was however, lucky that his miserable performance only invited explicit and offensive shouting and not missiles from revellers.
Unlike fine wine which gets better with age, Beenie Man’s set was far away to match his previous energetic performance he exhibited in Harare seven years ago when he staged his maiden performance in Zimbabwe at the Lion Larger Beer Summer Festival.
Beenie Man, who took to the stage around 1:30am clade in an African attire costume and black shoes, of course might have that history of putting up top notch performances, but at Spring Festival he failed to charm and struggled to keep the crowd on their feet.
His poor performance was once again put event organisers under attack as fans who attended the concert complained that local music promoters continue to spend thousands of dollars bringing underperforming international acts.
Many music followers who spoke to NewsDay expressed disappointment over Bennie Man’s poor performance as he failed to connect with fans who seemed not to be even familiar with most of the songs he played.
“I was very disappointed. Beenie Man’s performance showed that he is now struggling probably with age. He was not at his best where he can be considered as a great entertainer as he played second fiddle to Winky D,” said Ras Tonde.
Another fan only identified as Maureen saw it with different eyes: “There is no doubt that Beenie Man remains one of the best dancehall artiste worldwide, his performance was not that bad it’s only that people judged his act from his previous show in 2010 when he was at his peak,” he said.
Speaking to NewsDay soon after his performance before he was whisked away with overzealous bouncers, Beenie Man said he enjoyed performing in Zimbabwe for the second time.
“Zimbabwe performance is wicked man, I can’t describe it you are to describe i owe this for you It was great for me, I enjoy myself, I enjoy doing it and I enjoy the people, the reaction was wicked and I really, really enjoy it,” he said.
He, however, did not rule out collaborations with local artistes whom he described as talented adding that they were contributing to the growth of the arts in African.
“It was wicked to perform with African artiste. Just keep music, keep loving music the art is transitional.”
The Gafa hitmaker, who performed soon after Jah Prayzah and later handed the microphone to Bennie Man, proved why he is considered the local dancehall Ingwe (King) dressed in his ninja inspired red outfit.
He connected well with the audience who could be seen singing and dancing along during his entire set as he engraved his authority as a force to reckon with on the showbiz circuit.
No doubt Winky D has endeared himself well with fans.
“When I say I am the Bill Gates (an American business magnate) of music what do I mean? I am not rich, but my lyrics are rich,” Winky D shouted in the midst of his performance.
“This is the second time for Beenie Man to be in Zimbabwe, can I see those who were there at first show? Thank you for supporting reggae music. Can I take you down memory lane?” he quipped before unlashing a series of his yesteryear hits much to the delight of the fans who responded by screaming.
Winky D’s class touch was also displayed on his latest instrument set which had an air drumming kit (Aerodrum) with its sensors attached on his drummer Delroy Maripakwenda’s shoes as he could be seen pounding in the air much to the delight of the fans who looked stunned and charmed.
Some of the artistes who performed at the gig included Soul Jah Love, Judgment Yard, Rax the DJ, RayDizz, Juice, Selecta and Cindy.