Machel, Iwer take stage together
THEY did what their political counterparts could not.
Soca heavyweights Machel Montano and Iwer George ended their musical rivalry and came together to celebrate the country's 50th Independence anniversary at Woodford Square, Port of Spain, early yesterday morning.
The State-funded National Multicultural Extravaganza and Re-enactment of the 1962 Independence took place at the square on Thursday night.
The Opposition People's National Movement (PNM) boycotted the event, and instead held its own celebrations at its Balisier House headquarters in Port of Spain.
Woodford Square was given a makeover and the public was allowed to enter the event free of charge.
Among the many aspects of the transformation was the construction of two stages, one at the northern side of Woodford Square opposite the Old Library, and the western side opposite the Red House.
The smaller of the two stages saw performances by various artistes, including reigning Junior Calypso Monarch Aaron Duncan and former National Calypso Monarch Willard "Lord Relator" Harris.
Comedian Tommy Joseph was the master of ceremonies for the smaller stage.
The women in the crowd were wooed by the "sweet soca man" Timothy Watkins Jr, better known as Baron.
The crowd sang along as Robert Elias, De Mighty Trini, performed his hit song, "Sailing".
Austin Lewis, better known in the calypso world as King Austin, was also among the performers on the smaller stage.
The larger stage saw dance performances by the Malick Folk Performers.
Singing group H2O Phlo performed "It's Our Anniversary", the hit from American group Tony Toni Toné, personalised for the Independence theme.
Panmen Ray Holman and Lennox "Boogsie" Sharpe also performed together.
After the re-enactment of the 1962 flag-raising ceremony, Mavis John performed her iconic song, "God Bless Our Nation".
Lord Brynner National Independence Day Calypso Monarch Roderick "Chucky" Gordon sang his winning song, "Bear With Me".
Later, reigning Soca Monarch Machel Montano had the crowd in the palm of his hands when he took the stage for a full-length performance.
Montano performed his past hits, including "Big Truck".
He called on stage several past collaborators, including Drupatee Ramgoonai to perform "Real Unity" and reigning Chutney Soca Monarch Kris Vishal "KI" Persad to sing a remix of "Single Forever".
Montano also performed with Rodney "Benjai" Le Blanc.
Montano said Bob Marley's song "One Love" was named the song of Jamaica's 50th Independence anniversary (early last month), and said he believed Le Blanc's song "Trini" was the song for this country's 50th anniversary.
But despite all the performances that went before, the cultural performances climaxed some 15 minutes before the end of the show.
Montano reminisced that he won this year's Soca Monarch title by having a "man fly out of the Hasely Crawford Stadium".
(The soca star had included a man with a jetpack during his performance at the Soca Monarch final earlier this year.)
He said this time he was going to make a man "fly into Woodford Square". Attendees were bewildered by the statement, with some looking into the night's sky.
Then George ran on stage, singing the song which earned him second place in the Soca Monarch competition—"No Pain" (a jab at Montano following George's defeat in the 2011 Soca Monarch competition).
George had placed second to Montano in 2011 also.
The crowd went wild.
Montano and George performed together and also enjoyed some picong. Montano said in song the $2 million he won at the Soca Monarch final was "dear".
George replied that he was going to beat Montano "next year". The crowd erupted.
When George left the stage, Montano ended his set with a performance of his Soca Monarch- and Road March-winning song, "Advantage". —Joel Julien