A combination of great performances, rib-tickling comedy and just the right choice of music made the show a fantastic one.
Entertainer Shurwayne Winchester started his performance promptly at the 8 pm starting time and was on stage for most of the next three hours, the duration of the entire show.
He opened with his own songs “Don’t Stop”, “Carnival Please Stay”, “Make It Yours”, “Tobago Love”, “Wining Addiction” and “Murdah” before singing “Soca Calling Meh”, “Pump Me Up” and “Bahia Girl”, when he went down into the audience and had them clapping and singing along. As Shurwayne got into “Fire Fire”, the audience sang along even louder.
MC Errol Fabien, challenged to perform General Grant’s (Curtis Grant) “Shot Call”, had patrons in stitches with his somewhat suggestive antics.
Shurwayne, a two-time Road March champion and a Soca Monarch winner, continued with “This Is For You”, “Wine on It” and “Take Your Time.” He ended his next number “Baby Love” with a sustained note that had the audience reacting with loud applause.
A woman was then led to a stool on the stage, and in a seductive voice Shurwayne serenaded her with American country singer Shania Twain’s “You’re Still The One”, going down on his knees at one time.
As he escorted her off the stage towards the end of the song, his voice trailed off to “I Want To Make Love”, prompting the guitarist to perform a wonderful solo, holding the guitar at the back of his head. The crowd loved every bit of it.
Fabien returned on stage and quipped, “When Shurwayne sings you feel it.” The crowd agreed. Then he added, “If I coulda sing like Shurwayne I woulda fill Belmont Orphanage.” The crowd roared with laughter.
Ironically, Baron (Timothy Watkins) came on stage next and sang “Feeling It”, and with a change of clothing Winchester joined the older bard and elicited waves from the audience as Baron belted out “Doh Rock It So”.
At the end of the song, Shurwayne told the audience Baron was his inspiration in soca music, adding, “But I still have some work to do,” as he held up Baron’s hand with all the gold rings. The crowd laughed. Then as Baron was leaving the stage Shurwayne called out “Dad!”, Baron answered, “Yes, son?” and making his way back on stage Shurwayne cajoled Baron into singing his parang soca hit “Spanish Woman” although it is the Carnival season. The women in the audience were delighted.
National Calypso Monarch semi-finalist Amrika Mutroo made a guest appearance and sang “Don’t Judge Me,” but her microphone was too loud for the audience to enjoy her performance.
Then came 82-year-old Robert “Lord” Nelson in a pink suit and immediately got the crowd to sing “La La”. Great applause filled the hall at the end of the song. Nelson’s next number “Disco Daddy”, had the crowd going wild as he stripped off his jacket, lost his cane and zipped down the front of his jumper. He received a standing ovation.
After the intermission dancers in shackles came on stage then Shurwayne struck up “Tang Tang” and had rapso artistes 3-Canal join him on stage. Needless to say the crowd gingerly moved in their chairs while they waved glow sticks. 3-Canal continued with “Talk Yuh Talk” which earned them a rousing reception at the end of the song.
With particles left behind, Shurwayne took hold of a broom and started sweeping the stage and the comical exchange of words between Fabien and him had the audience rolling with laughter.
Two young artistes from The Next Tobago Star then made guest appearances. Jhevon Jackson, aka J Brzz, who sang “Whole Day” and Ronell Berkley going by the stage-name, Bvyb, sang “Happening Again”. Shurwayne reasoned, “If we don’t give them the opportunity, how can we judge them.”
Farmer Nappy (Darryl Newton Henry) soon joined Shurwayne on stage and did “We Doh Sleep”, and as they got into the crowd they had people stand up and move to “Nothing Eh Wrong”.
Back on stage Nappy got the band to play a music of renowned orchestra leader, Joey Lewis, which had some in the audience dancing in front of the stage. As he got into his huge hit for 2014 “Big People Party” he declared, “Machel Montano won the Groovy Monarch twice but brother or no brother I am going to beat him!”
Shurwayne concluded his solo performances with “De Band Coming”, “Vice Versa Love” and “Dead or Alive”, then royalty graced the stage.
The Mighty Sparrow (Slinger Francisco) came out without any aid singing “Congo Man”. The audience got on their feet as well, and sang loudly with the Calypso King of the World, whose powerful and witty delivery of “Lying Excuses” had them in stitches. They gave him a standing ovation. But the icing on the cake of a fantastic night of entertainment came when the Birdie, who remained on his feet for his entire performance, sang “Saltfish”.
As he delivered the song like no other can, he was joined first by Nelson, then as Baron came on he wittily extempoed, “I’m the Baron, they call him the sweet saltfish man.” The crowd roared with laughter again. Then together with Shurwayne the foursome hugged each other and continued singing “Saltfish” much to the delight of the crowd as they left the stage.
That sight prompted the final standing ovation for the night.