Miami’s Best of the Best concert, which took place over Memorial Weekend, was a star-studded reggae extravaganza that exceeded the six months of hype that was attached to it. Consider that Barrington Levy, who was on stage belting out hits like “Under mi Sensi, and “Too Experienced” was barely the focal point of the concert. He played a wicked 30 minute set, which had the crowd going ape shit, but afterward, he seemed a bit minced that his time on stage wasn’t longer.
“I think I needed more time,” said Levy while still huffing and puffing. “To me, I wish it was just my show and I didn’t have to share the stage with anyone. I barely touched my catalogue and the people wanted to hear MORE!”
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He was right about that, but on this night, Buju Banton was the artist who stole the show. He played an hour-long set, as the afternoon faded into night time and had audiences dancing and sweating to his long list of hits like, “Murder,” “Destiny,” and, ah, who are we kidding… dude has HITS! He did tease, “Boom Bye Bye” for two seconds but didn’t sing it. And when he played his latest smash, “Driver” the crowd went nuts. Flags were flying and as the Sly and Robbie riddim started to play, Banton left the stage until the audience demanded he come back and sing the song in it’s entirety. It was a hell of a performance that didn’t seem like it could have been upstaged, but as the concert drew to a close, Movado came out dressed in all black and every gangster on the premises started shouting, buck buck buck—with two fingers pointed like guns into the night. As ladies literally grabbed as his legs and feet just to touch him, and rudebwoys shouted, ANYWAYYYYY, it became apparent that dude is like the Young Jeezy of dancehall. After 4-5 songs, the poor people’s governor, Bounty Killer took the stage, dressed in all black as well, and the two finished the night out backing each other up and singing a few duos. Frankly, the crowd was too loud, (the place looked like the Beatles playing the Ed Sullivan show in 1964) and, through what seemed like Caribbean hysteria, I couldn’t hear a word of what they were saying. But it didn’t matter. Best of the Best was off the chain, and with Bounty and Movado, closing it out, it’ll be a long time before Miami sees another reggae show like that. Then again, Stephen and Damian Marley are playing a “secret show” in Miami tonight…and we’ll be there to let you know if it compares or not. -- Jonathan Cunningham