Buju reclaims his throne - Shows no rust in first performance for nearly a decade

March 18, 2019
Buju Banton in performance last Saturday night at his Long Walk to Freedom Concert at the National Stadium.

It was a long walk to freedom but Buju Banton’s tumultuous journey led to sweet redemption inside the National Stadium on Saturday night.

As the Gargamel made his long awaited return to the stage, he recounted his years locked away in isolation down to the second; eight years, six months, 27 days, 13 hours, five minutes and 26 seconds, according to him.

But somehow, all that time lost during his incarceration seemed insignificant as the Destiny singer needed little more than 95 minutes to reclaim his musical throne.

It was almost as if time stood still from his last performance in Miami in 2011 and concert goers inside the National Stadium were teleported to the historic moment on Saturday night via time capsule.

If there were any doubts about Banton’s ability to deliver a quality set after almost a decade in prison, all those concerns were laid to rest.

The entertainer, who has been described as one of the most outstanding perfomers in Jamaica, eased back into his element with little to no fuss.

So relaxed was the Gargamel on stage, that it shocked some members of the audience.

“A can’t Buju dis weh just spend eight years a prison a mash up stage so,” said one female patron. “No man, him did a keep stage show inside deh because this is just something else.”

Her sentiments were shared by countless others throughout the venue. Well aware of the concerns people had about his ability to pick up where he left off, the Gargamel addressed his critics.

“Dem say ‘Buju, who him? When him come back him nuh memba how fi deejay’. All when me a sleep me can deejay,” he said to loud cheers and screams. “Not a competition, this is not a race. Buju a Buju, me nuh inna dat race. Me come to music not to fight and trace, me love when gyal pickney rotate dem waist.”

In classic Buju style, he dabbled in the controversial for a brief moment.

“Make me talk to the people dem,” he said. “Music a me woman, nuh man nuh inna me head, who a p**sy a say p**sy me nuh trust dem like feds,” he continued before indicating he was advised not to ‘gwaan too bad’.

He then took his set into catering to the women and served up hits such as Waterman, The Only Man and Up Close and Personal.

extensive catalogue

The crowd could not get enough of Banton as he belted out hit after hit. Songs including Driver were crowd favourites as just the intro was enough to send the crowd into a frenzy.

Although Banton could have adequately handled his set by himself based on his extensive catalogue, the entertainer invited a few friends to help him.

Highlighting that his time of tribulation helped him sift out the real from the fake, Banton referred to those he shared the stage with on Saturday as family.

Marcia Griffiths he described as a mother, Beres Hammond as a father, and Wayne Wonder as his musical brother. Gramps Morgan and Stefflon were also called upon during the Gargamel’s set.

He ended his set on an abrupt but positive note as he encouraged black people to unite before delivering the song, African Pride.

Fireworks closed the curtains on a spectacular night, which left patrons satisfied they were able to savour in the moment live.


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