Harare – Jamaican reggae icon Tarrus Riley had a splendid performance during his much anticipated debut show at Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), Zimbabwe, last week.
The show, held on October 28, saw hundreds of people from Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa attending.
His act was opened by Jamaica’s legendary saxophonist and trumpeter, Dean Fraser, who got a great standing ovation that created an urge for more classical reggae music.
Fraser introduced the stage appearance of Riley with My Day instrumental. Riley then made his way to the stage singing …”hey give thanks for life..give thanks for life, today me rise like the sunrise”.
Before he could even finish the next line, the audience was already screaming and welcoming him on stage. Several ladies secured their positions close to the stage for a close-up with the Jamaican star.
The stage had two keyboard players who were also backing him vocally, two guitarists, and a drummer who was multi-tasking as a backing vocalist, and Fraser.
Although it was only an outfit of six instrumentalists, their act sounded as if it was an orchestra of a hundred people. The melody they produced could be appreciated by any “Jack and Jill” who did not have a musical background. It was irresistible.
Riley performed for at least three hours and yet never ran out of crowd sing-along songs. He performed My Day, Karma, She Is Royal, Human Nature, Getty Getty No Wantee, Stay With You, Back Biter, When I Am Far Away, Sorry Is A Sorry Word, Jah Jah Run Tings and Protect Your People.
People could not get enough of him and by the time he got off stage, his khakhi outfit was socked in sweat.
Although Riley’s performance was marvellous and beyond what people expected, the event was not a full house.
Normally, when HICC is having an international show, the venue will be so full that there will not be any free seats, some of the people may end up standing.
In a random interview with some of the fans after the show, many people said the show was not a full house because the tickets were so expensive that some fans for Riley could not afford.
“Paying US$30 for an ordinary ticket for a one night show is too expensive for many people. The VIP were US$50 and VVIP US$100, honestly with our unfavourable economic environment, the charge was too much and that is the reason why the venue was not full. We understand he is a Jamaican artist but, the tickets were very expensive. I remember when Chris Martin once came to Zimbabwe at Glamis Arena the ordinary tickets were US$10 and US$15 at the gate,” said Rejoice Nhapwa, one of the fans.
In a separate interview, Tanaka Kabaya who claims to be a huge fan of Tarrus Riley said the show was hindered by Delta Beverage’s Braai festival which was also taking place on the same day.
“I am a huge fan of Tarrus Riley, I love his music but, I also love alcohol and on the same day there was a braai and beer festival. At the festival, people were getting one litre of alcohol and a braai pack for only US$5, this means some people were caught in between six litres of alcohol and six packs of braai meat, and one ticket for Tarrus Riley excluding alcohol and food. The dilemma is also the reason why I came in late for the show,” said Kabaya.
Riley’s show was supported by Zimbabwean musicians Jah Prayzah, Killer T, Seh Calaz, Templeman, Judgement Yard, Gary Tight, Soul Jah Love and Winky D who also had great performances.
At around 8pm, there were less than 50 people at the venue watching the first act. However, more people came through in the late hours when Delta Beverage’s beer and braai festival ended.