The man who will always be known as the Calypso King of the World, the Mighty Sparrow, received a standing ovation when he came on to the stage at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), in Port of Spain on Saturday evening.
But the event which featured a dramatision of some of Sparrow's calypsoes by various artistes had some unscheduled drama which saw him take a fall to the side of the stage and he had to be assisted to his feet, but he was not ill and he was unharmed and was able to continue his performance.
The occasion was the "Thank You Sparrow" concert put on by Spektakula Promotions as a celebration to mark not only Trinidad and Tobago's 50th anniversary of Independence but also the 36th anniversary of the nation as a Republic.
Slinger Francisco, aka Sparrow and the Birdie, was introduced on stage about 9.40 p.m. to make a special appearance at the show. He came on to a standing ovation with the NAPA audience paying double tribute by singing along to his still popular "Congo Man" with him. There then ensued a session of call and response with the audience as they went through the song.
He started his second song with a rap and then moved into the ever popular "Saltfish". The audience could not get enough of his performance.
The calypsonian was moving off the stage, in preparation for the next item on the agenda which was the presentation of an award to him. It was at this point the veteran singer fell at the side of the stage. This was not due to ill health however, but due to the fact that he had leaned on one of the stage props that was not stable, and when it shifted, Sparrow fell. But he was not harmed and he was placed on a chair to receive the award from the Trinbago Unified Calypsonian's Organisation (TUCO) president Lutalo Masimba (Brother Resistance).
Sparrow demonstrated that he suffered no injury by standing to sing the calypso that won him his first Calypso King title in 1956, the now classic Jean and Dinah. During the performance Brother Resistance was at his side and they were both joined by Calypso Queen of the World Calypso Rose.
Masimba told the audience that every opportunity to see a performance by Sparrow who is considered to be an icon of the calypso artform is always much appreciated.
Artistes on the show had been asked to perform and interpret the songs of the Mighty Sparrow.
Young Jeremy Rodriguez chose to do this by using Sugar Aloes' "Just being Me"; which originally explains why he should not be mistaken for the calypsonian Baron. Rodriguez told the audience not to mistake him for the Birdie.
Spoken Word artiste Muhammad Muwakil's narration of a woman called Mae Mae intermingled with several lines from some of Sparrow's calypso of the same name had the audience in stitches.
The music provided by Wayne Bruno and Rapid Response haunted the audience, the sharp horn lines and fancy guitar works showed how much music Sparrow had in his songs.
Barron's first few lines from Sparrow's first gold song (50,000 copies) "Only a Fool" held the audience's attention and they sang along with the sweet soca man.
Baron continued with "Slave" and "Alien Woman" making way for Luta who performed "Prophet of Gloom and Doom".
Masters of Ceremony CG and Tommy Joseph had the audience going with their brand of humour but Tommy Joseph was "cutting" as nothing passed him.
Ace pannist and arranger Len Boogsie Sharpe was up next with a medley of songs which included "Sa Sa Yeh" and "Drunk and Disorderly". Sharpe's dexterity on the double seconds pans is surpassed by none and the audience lapped it up.
Lead singer with the band SASS, Nadia Batson caused a stir as she walked on stage in a tight fitting mini dress but that did not take away from her rendition of "Memories". Batson reminded the audience that was no novice as she was a part of the chorus with Wayne Bruno back in the days rehearsing all Sparrow's songs. She finished off with "Games without Names" a song which caught many off guard.
When it was Malick Folk Performers turn on stage they kicked off their dance sequence with "Benwood Dick" into "Ten to One" and "Both ah Dem". They continued with "Miss Mary" and "Doh Do Dat" bringing the first half of the show to a close.
Still on a high from his recent victory at the competiton which took place in August, Independence Calypso Monarch Chucky was next in line and he performed "Education" and "Lying Excuses" to the delight of the audience.
Award-winning choir Junes Agape came on stage and they ran the gamut of Sparrow's songs. With drama and motion they took the audience from the early days into the present. They performed songs like "Melda", "Obeah Wedding", "London Bridge", "Education", "Federation", "Capitalism gone Mad", "Philip My Dear", "Dancing Shoes" "Doh Back Back" and "Soca Pressure".
It was left to David Rudder to put a cap on show and he delivered "A Model Nation", "Federation" and "Dan is the Man".
During his last song Rudder was into the audience preaching to the people as they sang along with him.