-October 18, 2012
The 68th birthday celebrations of Winston Hubert McIntosh affectionately called Peter Tosh, “Stepping Razor,” and “Red X” was commemorated with a Tribute in an evening of music and poetry at headquarters of Pulse’s Studio 38 on the eve of October 18th 2012.
It was not only for the yearly celebrations that many patrons gathered at this well supported event, but it was also to recognize the posthumous honor of Order of Merit which had finally been afforded to the Bush Doctor.
This was the recognizable feeling one felt, as you surveyed the audience of varying age groups and walks of life who had come to love this man and his musical legacy. The concert got off to a late start, but while patrons waited The Lloyd Parks Sound provided ample background nostalgia with Bob Marley’s One Drop, Zimbabwe, Ride Natty Ride, Rasta Man Live Up, Africa Unite, and So Much Trouble.
Very soon after that interlude, songs like Downpressor Man, I am that I am, Stepping Razor and Equal Rights filled the hot night air. In the audience was spotted Courtland “Gizmo” White (guitarist), Lead Singer Kumar Bent and Keyboardist Demar Gayle (from the Raging Fyah Band), Mutabaruka, DubKore and also arriving local singer D-Major.
The proceedings began at a quarter past 8 pm with greetings from Ibo Cooper, Lecturer at Edna Manley College and former keyboardist for the Third World Band. After brief apologies, the show began with a poetical tribute to Tosh by Tuffis “In Loving Memory of Red X”, poignantly remembering that Tosh’s songs were those you could survive on so much so that we can “rock to his songs to make us strong”.
This was followed by brief performances by new artists Neil Amos, Clifton Rattigan and L Stitch who gave lively introductions to the audience, then a Band Change accompanied by backdrop tunes such as Maga Dog, Stand Up for Your Rights and African. Next on the bill was Errol Bonnick former lead singer of the Live Wyya Band who performed Jah Guide in a manner reminiscent to Tosh’s haunting voice, much to the audience’s delight. Mr. Bonnick kept it rebel with tracks like My Religion is alive before making his exit.
2006 Digicel Rising Stars group One Third made their contribution with a rendition of Jah is My Keeper and Coming in Hot. After yet another band change, the audience was greeted with music from the Tuff Gong Band's lead singer, son of Bunny Wailer and his sister, Cen-C Love (singer and daughter of the former Wailer).
Dean Frazer also joined the troupe on stage and they performed with Tosh 1, son of Peter Tosh, Vampire, Downpressor Man, Equal Rights, I am that I am and from his upcoming EP Can't find no love. Tosh 1 ended his tribute on a high note. Reggae veteran Bushman quickly rendered Can’t Blame the Youths and two of his own Downtown and Lighthouse.
This was followed briefly with appearances by Copeland Forbes (renowned promoter) and Herbie Miller (former Manager for Tosh) recalling fond memories of Peter. The Lloyd Parks and We the People Band then opened backing Noddy Virtue (2005 Digicel Rising Stars Runner-up contestant) performance of Glass House. His showmanship was as usual spirited and vocally passionate.
This ushered the night’s hot-stepper veteran Pinchers, who wowed the audience with hit after hit, showing he had not lost his Bandelero status. Rinsing favourites such as For Your Eyes Only, Enemies on My Border, Agony, and Sit Dung Pon It he had the audience in a warm delight as he exited the stage after an excellent set.
Next was Warrior King with Never Go Where Pagans Go and Virtuous Woman. The next two sets belonged to the veteran groups The Mighty Diamonds and The Tamlins, who proved that good music only gets better with aging like fine wine. The Diamonds sparkled with hits like Have Mercy, Right Time Come, Pass the Kutchie and I Need a Roof. The Tamlins performed brilliantly showing their unity and togetherness sharing the stage in true honour to Tosh, sweetly delivering tracks like Sitting in the Park, Baltimore, and Crucial Times.
The audience was appreciative of Junior “One Blood” Reid’s hits such classics as One Blood, Fit, General Penitentiary, Shine Eye Gal Guess who’s coming Dinner and Johnny Be Good in tribute to Tosh. His was the closing set before Andrew Tosh entered the stage at 3 minutes to 12 am to usher in his Father’s birthday with a moment of silence.
After the somber moment, Andrew ignited the stage, decked in full white and dark glasses as his Father often was wont to wear, with almost identical vocals, he performed Mama Africa and Glass House. The Mystic Man seemed to be very much present in the tribute of the son. The audience’s thirst had finally been quenched with the multiple band changes the moment they had finally waited for to catch a small glimpse of the man dubbed Prophet and Teacher, in the likeness of his offspring.
He performed infamous tunes like Maga Dog, Legalize It and was joined by Sister Carol on stage who delivered biting lyrics in true “warri-ess” style. It was indeed a joy to share in this momentous occasion and tribute and at minutes after 12 the show was winding down in reggae roots fashion. Andrew Tosh closed the proceedings to what was a memorable celebration of Peter Tosh and it was my pleasure to bring the occasion to you.