Grammy Award-winning musician Alicia Keys on Friday delivered a fantastic performance at the Sir Gary Sobers Gymnasium, Barbados, when she was presented as the headline act of the 2005 Barbados Jazz Festival.
The singer/songwriter, who is this year nominated for eight Grammy Awards, performed for about an hour and 15 minutes before a sold-out audience of more than 4,000 people.
The show kicked off promptly at 8 p.m. with the Barbados National Anthem, but the patrons had to wait a further half an hour before Keys finally appeared on stage. This was because the artiste, her musicians and crew were backstage praying and apparently they got caught up in the worship session that had taken them over.
The crowd began to grow restless after waiting for about 15 minutes and started to clap and call for Keys, who was the only artiste being featured at the concert, to come out. Her musicians eventually came out at 8.25 and her hype man got things started with a series of chants and loud calls for the seated audience to get on its feet to welcome the singer who burst on stage singing “Karma (What Goes Up)” as she shuffled around the stage, cane in hand.
Even more people got up out of their seats as Keys kicked off the music to “Heartburn”, which she followed up with “I Wanna Rock With U”.
Keys then sat behind her Yamaha Motif X5 Keyboard after greeting her audience and thanking them for supporting her through her short, yet successful, career thus far. She asked if there were any real men in the audience and all the men shouted in unison.
Keys then asked, “Are there any strong, intelligent, beautiful women here,” before performing “A Woman’s Worth,” the song that launched her recording career.
Throwing in some Latin riffs into the mix, Keys again instructed the people to get up and dance as her percussionist began to work the congas and timbales. Keys showed that she could get down to some serious jazz as she plucked out some Latin jazz riffs on her keyboard. The people went wild.
Since Thursday there were some unusually heavy showers on the island and some became concerned that the rains would affect the weekend’s open-air events.
Keys, on the other hand, was not concerned. “I don’t care if it’s raining. I love the rain. I’ve written some of my best songs while it was raining,” Keys said before performing “How Come You Don’t Call Me Any more?” One of her back-up vocalists, Jeremiah Germaine, came forward to deliver a fabulous solo that had the women swooning.
After singing “If I Don’t Have You,” Keys got up to conduct the band as it played the “Harlem Nocturne” interlude P-funk style. Germaine was back front-stage to slow-dance with Keys as she sang “Slow Down.”
Next up were the popular songs “Diary” and “Falling”, in which Keys added a gothic intro on keyboard as she ran up and down the scales with her vocals. She then left the stage, returning a couple of minutes later to end with “You Don’t Know My Name.” Keys eventually ended her set at 9.45 p.m.
There was one incident during the show when a journalist from Jamaica was caught by one of Keys’s crewmembers recording the show. After being asked several times to hand over the tape and refusing, the journalist was asked by the crewmember to come backstage so that he could hear if the quality of the recording was worth being taken away.
The journalist also refused and a scuffle between the two took place. The police intervened and the tape was seized.
The festival, which began last Monday, ended yesterday with a the Farely Hill Jazz Concert featuring several top regional and international acts.
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