Reggae loving fans converged on Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz, California on Saturday night for what they hoped would have been the triumphant return of roots reggae champion, Junior ‘Love So Nice’ Kelly, to the West Coast, and they were extremely pleased with the outcome.
In the run-up to last Saturday’s concert (June 9) Junior Kelly had expressed his enthusiasm for the event and had promised fans during his many interviews that it would be a night to remember. In true Junior Kelly style, the entertainer made good on his promise and gave a solid performance lasting one hour and five minutes.
He wooed fans with the old, the new and those songs in between; the vibe was on a constant high and in many instances the fans sang along word-for-word. The women at the very front of the venue — most of them Caucasian — seemed to be transfixed by the dreadlocked crooner and right after he exited centerstage, they were the first ones in line waiting patiently for an autograph and a hug as they posed for pictures.
“It’s just the Junior Kelly effect,” one female fan explained with a shrug as she swayed to the love songs being belted out by the singer.
Backed by a live band, Junior Kelly organised his set with precision and his delivery was on point. Among the songs that he performed from his catalog were “Tough Life”, “Believe In Yourself”, “Blaze”, “Black I Am”, ” More I See You”, “Been There”, “Dem Wrong”, “Sick A Dem Story” Heads Up”, “Rebel Music”,” Boom Draw” and “Missing You”, all of which struck the right chord with the audience.
In closing, Junior Kelly unleashed the song that refuses to get old, Love So Nice, followed by another mega hit, Receive. Naturally, both were very well received, especially since the singer, during his performance of Receive, made his way into the audience and greeted fans up close and personal.
At that point, Moe’s Alley, “tun ova”.
Junior Kelly had made his longed for return in a massive way.
Speaking with the press post-show, an enthusiastic Kelly noted that he was overwhelmed and fulfilled by the response and the attentiveness of the crowd. “There was a blind Caucasian man in the audience and that man showed so much appreciation for reggae music, it was humbling. I can’t find words to describe all the various range of emotions that went through me as I stood on stage and looked down into the crowd. I could feel the love from the fans and that made it so easy to pour it all back. As an artiste, you can know just how much you are appreciated by the number of people who stay back for autographs and to purchase your CD’s and, look for yourself,” he said pointing to the long line of people waiting patiently on him.
He added, “My one-hour on stage felt so short, but that’s how it is when you are having a great time. I want to thank all the fans for turning out and big respect to the promoter and his team. I will definitely be back, but for now, it’s onto the next show where we hope the vibe will match up to this one,” Junior Kelly said smiling.
The show also featured singer Prestige, an artiste who has steadily been making a name for himself. Prestige rocked Moe’s Alley with songs such as “Give Thanks”, “I Am Bless”, “Smoke Free”, “Do You Think Of The Poor” and “Tender Loving”, during a 40-minute set that went down well.