Saturday, January 20, 2018

SuperBlue rules Savannah again


SWEET STEEL: Panorama 2013 champions Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove, conducted by arranger Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, left, perform at Champs of Steel Plus at Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain on Saturday night. —Photo: JERMAINE CRUICKSHANK

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Reigning Soca Monarch and Road March champion SuperBlue was given a free rein to roam the Grand Stand of the Queen's Park Savannah on Saturday night at Pan Trinbago's Champs of Steel Plus.

SuperBlue stopped for a picture here and there, greeting his many adoring fans who were anxious to meet him.

The high priest of soca was also front and centre on stage listening to ace arranger Len "Boogsie" Sharpe and 2013 Panorama champ Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove perform its winning number, "More Love".

It was right on the stroke of midnight when Sharpe gave his members the count and they performed like true champions. When they were finished the Grand Stand audience, including SuperBlue, erupted in applause.

After Phase II's performance, announcer Sharon Pitt said there was more to come from Groovy Soca Monarch runner-up Iwer George and the Soca Monarch and Road March winner.

There was an air of expectation and, even as Iwer George tried his best to move the audience with his performance, it proved very difficult.

It was clear that the fans only wanted to see and hear the new double monarch and when he was announced they erupted again, this time even louder.

SuperBlue kicked off with "Soca Baptist" then "Ethel" and the entire audience became his chorus.

He thanked the band, Kelly Green and Harmony, for providing the music, then there was dead silence and anticipation in the Savannah...then SuperBlue told the audience: "This song is dedicated to the school and ministry of soca for the children to understand and continue what I have started."

The bell from his hit song "Fantastic Friday" sounded and lit up the Grand Stand and people, including children and teenagers, were flocking to the edge of the stage to get a close-up view of the Soca Monarch.

On the eastern edge of the stage, players and supporters of Phase II were shouting "Super", "Super" and he obliged by calling them to the middle of the stage.

It was a joy to see the youths jumping and dancing with SuperBlue as he performed and it was a fitting end to an evening of champions.

The audience also heard from Calypso Monarch Pink Panther and political commentary Monarch Kurt Allen with their winning selections.

Kings and Queen of Carnival, Ted Eustace and Gerald Weekes and Charisse Bovell, along with members of Brian MacFarlane's band "Joy—the finale" paraded their costumes to the delight of the crowd.

The night also belonged to the Junior Carnival champions—king Kwesi Philbert, queen Nekilah Thomas, Band of the Year Rosalind Gabriel's "Lost in Paradise", Panorama winners St Margaret's Anglican Boys, St Francois Girls' Steel Orchestra and Success Stars Pan Sounds, as well as Calypso Monarch Marq Pierre.

Extempo Monarch Lady Africa and runner-up Lingo performed several verses against each other and the audience got a taste of Young King Stephen Marcelle and Calypso Queen Joanne Foster, who performed "Politics Does Spoil the Lime" and "More than an Oil Drum", respectively.

In the steel department, three-time winner San Juan East Side Symphony—"Rant and Rave" (Single Pan); Arima Golden Symphony—"We Come out to Play" (Small); Courts Sound Specialists of Lavetille—"Long Time" (Peoples' Choice); and NLCB Buccooneers—"Gold" (Medium) all thrilled the patrons with their winning pieces.

Selwyn Tarradath, the man with the vision and formula for Champs in Concert and now Champs of Steel Plus, was honoured by organisers Pan Trinbago for his contribution.