A bit of rain and wind didn’t stop the party at the Lennon Bermuda concert on Saturday which was, yet again enjoyed, by many.
The first half was a slightly sped up rerun of the local acts from last year’s concert with a few newbies brought in.
They included some mellow acoustic songs by Chris Finsness and Michele Morfitt, an extended set by Rachel Brown and a happy little cover by surprise duo Mike Hind and Joy T Barnum.
Poor Joy’s mic cut out for the opening of her song, just as it did at the same event last year but it was quickly sorted out.
Biggie‘s performance was the best received by the crowd on the night and he really earned it. He brought such a positive energy about him and managed to get the crowd going throughout his set.
Opening the night’s entertainment were a number of instrumentals by the Bermuda School of Music, then Joy T Barnum was joined on stage by former Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert and Tourism Minister Shawn Crockwell for an uplifting rendition of All You Need Is Love.
Heather Nova made a surprise appearance and sang us a couple of new covers including Jealous Guy.
The gods were a little unkind — just as she was finishing up her second song it poured down for what was the first of the evening’s crowd wettings.
The VIPs dashed to the VIP-only tents leaving the fenced off audience members to get wet — thanks, that is, to the umbrella ban. We were told that umbrellas block the view of the stage which I can imagine being the case in a tightly packed arena which this was not.
Umbrella bans are not entirely unheard of at concerts — one UK concert recently banned them on safety grounds?!
Luckily there were blue plastic ponchos for sale which everyone rushed off to buy. The sea of blue-plastic draped people, I have to admit, was somewhat amusing — Woodstock it was not.
The Bermudian Glass Onion Band did a fantastic job supporting the local acts and Jimmy Keys kept his fans in the audience amused with his saucy humour.
His musical impersonations also went down well, especially his doddering Ozzy Osbourne take off. Keys was not spared the tech issues that persisited throughout the evening — just as he was launching into Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love, we got a whole lotta mic failure.
After quite a long run of mellow, acoustic style songs, the energy needed picking up and Biggie stepped right up to the mark getting the crowd cheering and dancing to his music.
The set began with Redemption Song, a few originals including Biggie’s favourite — Problems, his reggae version of Woman, followed by the medley. He also sang a cover of All My Loving which was Maxi Priest’s song last year.
He missed out two songs from the end of his set, perhaps due to previous technical hiccups, or rain breaks cutting into his stage time.
The Fab Faux didn’t quite hit the mark in the same way as Biggie did. Musically they were spot on but, perhaps for the want of standing out from other Beatles bands, they chose to cover some of their more obscure songs. As a Beatles fan I enjoyed hearing them — Nowhere Man, Any Time At All, I’m Looking Through You and Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite are cracking songs but they weren’t moving the crowd.
I’ll admit there were one or two I didn’t recognize. Then, among the more well-known tunes were Ticket to Ride and Drive My Car, fairly good Beatles songs. But Jimmy Levino’s guitar solo on While My Guitar Gently Weeps was one of the highlights of both this year and last year’s concerts put together.
Perhaps the audience was a little dampened by the rain, both in body and spirit, but they just didn’t seem to get into it as much as they did Biggie with his larger than life persona and well-known set list.
It’s almost as if they should have switched the bill to have him finish and pick the crowd up at the end.
It was a magnificent set for the die-hard Beatles fans though and it’s great to see that the Lennon Bermuda Peace Day Concert has earned its place on the island’s social calendar.