IT was billed as Pan Sweet Pan – Solidarity Concert, and that is what it was.
The event started promptly at 6 pm at the MHTL Starlift Pa Theatre in Woodbrook on Saturday before hundreds of pan aficionados, but by the end of the closing act, thousands of patrons were in their glee, having heard pan music all night.
The event was hastily organised by Pan Trinbago and its membership to rival the Carifesta Island Beats super concert, after expressing disappointment in the minister responsible for culture, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, for not including pan in that concert.
However, Saturday night was not about venting. instead, patrons came to hear pan music and that is why they got from 14 top steelbands of various categories.
Opening acts were two pan round de neck sides, St James Tripolians and Brimblers. Their repertoires included songs like La La Ethel, Love is Many a Splendour Thing, I am I Said, Carnival Time Again, Unknown Band and We Could Make it if We Try.
Then came a six-man band, Caribbean Steelpan Connection, who blew the minds of patrons with their wide-ranging genres of music beginning with God Bless Our Nation. And among the other selections was Toast from newest Jamaican sensation, Koffee.
The Guyanese National Steel Orchestra was a pleasant addition to the cast. They opened their stint with jazzy versions of Kitchener’s Old Lady Walk a Mile and a Half, and Sparrow’s Obeah Wedding. They drew appreciative applause from the crowd.
But it was the next band, Goldern Hands, that woke up patrons. They thrilled with songs like Pan In A Minor, Dingolay, I Will Always Be There for You, What a Wonderful World and a fiery version of Maestro’s Gold.
Sapophonics opted to play some old popular love songs but ended with Swappi’s Party Start, before Pan Trinbago president Beverly Ramsey-Moore introduced her band from Tobago, Katzemjammers.
There was an unexpected break in proceedings caused by the absence of some Starlift players, but Ramsey-Moore got Supernovas to move up the order of appearance and they did it with gusto.
Starting with Portrait of Trinidad, the band entertained the crowd with songs that included Hey Pokey Way, Love and Reggae, which they “wheeled” after the first verse and chorus, and had the crowd roaring with delight.
Couva Joylanders followed with old and new festival music, ending with High Mas, Both ah Dem, Hello and Black Man Feeling to Party.
Then came Republic Bank Exodus who “took the crowd to church” with Bridge Over Troubled Waters, after which they played Now Is The Time, Bound To Dance Party, Ganges and the Nile and Savannah Grass. Starlift next fell into place with one of its signature songs Penny Lane, Bamboleo, Feel It Coming, a Nelson medley and closed with another signature song, Du Du Yemi.
The concert got to fever pitch with Massy All Stars, who began with their Panorama song So Long, The band, fielding young frontline players, continued the jamming with songs that were composed long before they were born, but played with the feeling of the composers. Among them were Volare, Lorraine and the band’s trademark Woman on the Bass.
One player told this reporter the young players would have been babies when it was first played, but to the crowd you couldn’t tell the difference.
Silver Stars kept up the tempo with their high-energy performance, which ended with Love’s Theme and Bump and Wine, before ten-times national Panorama champs Desperadoes brought the curtain down with their set, whichincluded their signature song, Rebecca,
The audience left the venue beaming with satisfaction but with one regret: that BPTT Renegades, the reigning Panorama champions, didn’t make themselves available for the concert.
When Newsday caught up with Candice Brumant, captain of the band, she said that some of Renegades’ key players had left the country after the pan pinnacle show on Thursday to fulfil an engagement in New York over the weekend.