Machel Montano and Ian “Bunji Garlin” Alvarez joined each other on stage for a memorable performance, but there were a number of surprise acts that also left patrons awestruck. “If it nice you have do it twice,” said Montano as he introduced popular local 1990s deejay Tony “Chinese Laundry” Chow Lin On.
Laundry, who was one of the highlights during last year’s show, brought many veteran reggae and dancehall artistes to the stage in a 45-minute set. The set started off a bit slow, but when Bounty Killa touched the stage the crowd erupted as he was not confirmed to perform.
After performing many of his hits, Bounty was joined by Beenie Man on stage and the pair carried on a friendly battle. Laundry stated, “I want to thank Beenie and Bounty for coming together after feuding for many years and Bunji and Machel for coming together.” The surprises did not stop there as Iwer George and Laundry, two soca rivals in the 1990s, performed alongside each other. Iwer’s 2017 song “Take ah Bath” was well received as Iwer threw bottles of water into the crowd.
Bunji and Montano were the last two artistes to unite on stage. Accompanied by stick fighters, the pair sang their collaboration “Buss Head”. The duo stood next to each other and posed for the cameras which brought a huge applause.
Montano spoke about the unity on the night saying, “All yuh see Beenie and Bounty...love in the house.” Montano left Bunji on stage, as the latter went through many of his hits, even telling Montano, “No disrespect my brethren, but this part of the show is called Bunji Monday.” Montano then returned to close the show by delivering a range of his power soca songs such as “Float”, “Band of the Year” and his 2017 road march contender Beat It.
Earlier, a tribute to Calypso Rose was the first highlight of the night. After the iconic entertainer said her hit “Leave Me Alone” with Montano, will win the road march crown, the pair was joined on stage by extempo king Winston “Gypsy” Peters. The multiple extempo champion then introduced Timothy “Baron” Watkins, Drupatee Ramgoonai and David Rudder, while delivering extempo verses.
The legends stayed with Rose as she sang “Tempo” and “Fire, Fire”.
The mood on the night was electric throughout, but long waits by the bar in the Platinum section was frustrating for some. One person said he had to wait almost 30 minutes to get a drink. Patrons also had to wine in silence, as technical difficulties after Farmer Nappy and De Red Boyz set, led to 20 minutes of silence.
The long list of entertainers had the crowd entertained for most of the night, with MX Prime featuring the Ultimate Rejects and DJ Puffy from Barbados delivering riveting performances. MX Prime had the entire stadium singing his road march contender “Full Extreme”, even changing the lyrics for the occasion singing, “The stadium could fall down...we jammin still.” Among the others delivering strong performances on the night were Omardath Maraj, Peter Ram, Rupee, Orlando Octave and 2016 Soca Monarch champion Voice