Wednesday’s extravaganza was amongst the most anticipated events on the local concert schedule in quite a while; a fact that was vividly illustrated by the 200 yard line of patrons patiently waiting to get into the show. The event was extremely popular, attracting a crowd in excess of 1,500 at its peak, and delivering a fully satisfying evening of song, dance, and frenzied delight. From the impressive Barr’s Bay concert ground, to the brilliant, live New Kingston band, to the crowd-moving DJs, this was a high quality start to another Cup Match in Bermuda. I arrived just before the live portion of the show began in earnest; when New Kingston took the stage just before 11pm. The crowd had not yet reached its zenith, but there were already well over 1,000 fans in the temple. New Kingston was an immediate hit. They delivered a generous set, filled with instantly recognisable reggae smashes from the likes of Bob Marley (‘So Much Trouble’) and Beres Hammond (‘Pull Up The Vibes’), as well as original tunes that were enthusiastically embraced by the rapacious crowd. The band was awesome; and it certainly helped that the sound and lighting were excellent throughout the show. Even the emcee for the evening, the incomparable Fully, delivered a wonderfully succinct and effective performance. So by the time Collie Buddz made an appearance at around midnight, the now swollen and packed-tight crowd was thoroughly warmed up and ready to give him an amazing amount of their hard-earned energy. Collie Buddz was greeted with a gleeful roar from the huge crowd, and responded with a solid hour of hits, favourites, and all-time Bermudian classics! The vibe stayed steady through pieces like ‘Let Me Know’, ‘Holiday’, and ‘Playback’, ensuring a very memorable outing for all; but the real revelry was reserved for the platinum trilogy. I speak, of course, of the ethereal ‘Tomorrow’s Another Day’, the defiant ‘Blind to You’, and the ubiquitous ‘Come Around’ – Mr Buddz’ trio of timeless tunes that will forever have a place in the pantheon of the greatest locally produced songs ever! The crowd simply went wild when each of these pieces were played, giving credence to the belief that Collie Buddz is amongst the very best reggae artists Bermuda has ever produced. The quality of these songs should make us all proud to be Bermudian, and make us all want to break into a one-foot-skank to boot! Near the end of his set, Mr Buddz brought a surprise guest onto the stage with him. International reggae star Wayne Marshall came out and teased the crowd with a snippet of his hit “Good Love”. He then performed a combination piece with Collie Buddz before mentioning that he would be performing at the Alcove in Dockyard later in the week. He exited stage right while being showered with a rousing ovation. The live portion of the show ended at the advertised end time of 1am, but the revelry continued for another hour with party master DJ Rusty G and his Vibe 103 FM colleagues directing the fun. Soca, dance, hip-hop and reggae carried the night once the concert was over, and the patrons who were inclined to stick around (most of them!) enjoyed a wee bit more of the Barr’s Bay atmosphere and vibe; a decidedly infectious thing! At the end of the day, this was an excellent start to Bermuda’s favorite four-day weekend, and a heart-warming return of one of our greatest musical exports.