Soca icon Kees Dieffenthaller hailed his return to the Queen’s Park Savannah grass in Port of Spain for Tuesday’s second edition of IzWe as “nostalgic.”
The Miracle singer rocked the venue with his catalogue of hits and was joined by an array of other local and international performers, who delivered energetic sets from multiple genres of music.
Dieffenthaller set the pace from his entry, just before 10 pm, as he belted out potential road-march contender Miracle to thousands of singing fans. His entrance saw the artiste emerge from below the stage to centre stage, with a fireworks display that sparked a night of fiery performances.
Dieffenthaller then sang another 2024 favourite, Tack Back, and grooved into last year’s Mental Day and Fuh Spite. He followed up with Falling Down and other 2023 hits like Jub Jub, Jolene and Liki Tiki, all of which were amplified by an equally vocal crowd, particularly women, who raved at their soca sweetheart.
Summer Cyah Done, Banga, Boss Lady and Radar had similar impact, but when he began to introduce soca acts like Coutain, Nadia Batson, local veteran dancehall act General Grant, rising Yung Bredda and his team and the timeless Kerwin DuBois, they added diversity and upped the ante further for his three-hour-long set.
Nailah Blackman combined with Dieffenthaller on their 2016 collaboration Workout, which the former followed up with one of her 2024 hits, Jam of the Year.
Pan pioneer Len "Boogsie" Sharpe delivered a delicious taste of sweet pan as Dieffenthaller publicly recognised him for his stalwart contributions to the art form.
Likewise, 91-year-old calypsonian Lord Nelson joined Dieffenthaller on stage and took fans down memory lane with his classic Mih Lover.
Combinations kept coming as Patrice Roberts and Dieffenthaller lifted their voices for Like It like That. Roberts also performed her possible 2024 road-march contender Anxiety, which sent the women into revelry.
Voice and Mical Teja continued the soca eruption as their most popular releases this year – Penthouse and DNA respectively – were lapped up by captivated fans.
Then Dieffenthaller slowed it down a bit by returning to the stage with his version of Michael Jackson’s Heal The World, followed by his inspirational I Am A Lion.
Dieffenthaller called for peace in Trinidad and Tobago and then brought on internationally acclaimed queen of reggae Queen Omega for their new collaborative release Rise Up. Queen Omega followed up with her most popular tune right now, No Love, a dubplate for Swiss sound system Little Lion Sound, which was then turned into an actual track.
Despite being constantly swept off their feet, the singing thousands roared in unison when Jamaican songstress Tessanne Chin came on stage.
Dieffenthaller and Chin performed their collab Loving You before the latter sang mega-hit Secret Hideaway.
But when soca icon Iwer George stormed onto the stage singing the first lines of his and Dieffenthaller's 2020 Road March hit Stage Gone Bad, the dust from the Savannah grass rose again. Their performance was pure energy.
Almost at the end of Dieffenthaller’s set, he returned with Miracle and closed off the show in fine style with the iconic Savannah Grass, which sent people into soca frenzy.
Rhythm section/band Boom Boom Room closed off the show just before 1 am.
Throughout the experience, there were also craft, fashion and food on sale as Dieffenthaller continues to create a unique festival atmosphere.
Speaking with Newsday after IzWe, Dieffenthaller was all smiles.
“It was most amazing and kind of nostalgic to come back to the Savannah. A lil tack back in the Savannah is always nice. It was great to see everyone came out and brought their love, you know,” he said.
Dieffenthaller remains committed to presenting a different style of concert and wants to continue growing IzWe.
“The team really worked well, and I think it’s a good start for a new beginning. Our idea is to develop it into more of a festival. We showcase not just Kes the Band, but other artistes, people who do different things, like food and craft and fashion, and all of it in one space.
“If you’re travelling from around the world and want to experience TT in one night, you could come IzWe. The development will still be growing, but I think it was a great instalment, and I’m very proud of the whole team. I am grateful to all the artistes that came through and everybody put their best foot forward.”