Three events converged on Sunday May 13, 2012 which made for a very special day indeed – Mother’s day, Luciano’s concert in the Bronx and my birthday. Somehow I managed to celebrate all three at The Garage, the newest live music and hang-out spot in the Bronx, just off the New England Throughway at 2260 Tillotson Avenue.
Part of a package of two shows in the NYC area, the Bronx event produced and promoted by local premier party promoter ‘Irie Dale’ and George Crooks of famed Jammins Entertainment was definitely the must attend event for Mother’s Day. I had heard that the Brooklyn show held the previous night was definitely a crowd pleaser and considering the plethora of events scheduled for that night, the crowd that turned out at Pulse 48 (formerly Amazura) must have surpassed all expectation.
This was my first time attending the Garage and I was pleasantly surprised at the innovative conversion of the space. Having the feel of an open sports bar with the ubiquitous large flat screen tvs, a stage and lots of space for the patrons who turned out on a Sunday evening to welcome the Return of the Messenger. Although the crowd was not what it should have been, perhaps given the fact that Monday would be a work day for many of those who would have attended, nevertheless, Luciano, ever the consummate performer, brought his A-plus game. As one of the premier roots and culture performers in the business and now having some 20 years tucked under his belt, Luciano has abundant energy, vivacity and showmanship. He understands that he is there to please the audience and immediately builds a rapport with his adoring fans. Reaching out and touching, engaging in eye contact, making the women in the crowd feel as though he was singing only to them.
Running through his catalogue of early songs from his smash Island Records album- Where There Is Life, – ‘Who Could It Be’, ‘Your World and Mine,’ T’here’s No Love’, as well the title track. With more songs from his 1997 Messenger CD, Luciano, aptly named The Messenger, certainly brought his message to the Bronx on Sunday night. As anyone who has attended a Luciano concert knows, this performer will always bless his audience and performance with a prayer and Sunday night was no exception. Leading his fans in a mini revival session, he interspersed his secular songs with church staple choruses like, If You know the Lord is keeping you – there’s Nothing to Worry About. The ‘praise and worship’ session ended with a very powerfully moving rendition of ‘It’s Me Again Jah’. He also paid tribute to Bob Marley and Michael Jackson with a nice selection from these musical icons.
Luciano is never afraid to share the stage, hosting local artists Raggalox, Culture Wise Ras Progress and Survivalist who all had a turn at blessing the mic, even though the latter didn’t seem to want to reliniquish his moment in the spotlight!
My respect for this artist grew leaps and bounds when after the conclusion of the show at 2 am, he stayed for over an hour signing autographs and taking pictures with the crowd of fans who just wanted to show their love. As Tanya Stephens mentioned in her hit song “Way Back” with such apt and biting commentary – “Way back to when a star attitude wasn’t defined by somebody being rude, to when it was a pleasure definitely not a task to greet a fan with a smile and sign a damn autograph”! Welcome back Luciano after your almost two-year absence from New York’s reggae scene.
By Sheron Hamilton-Pearson