LRF 2000 presented Buju Banton in concert
Sunday May 13th, 2001 @ the London Astoria, Charing Cross Road, London, England
Arriving after 10pm, I found people still streaming into the venue, which had a start time of 7:30pm on the flyers. I made my way to the balcony area after a security guard warned the main room was extremely packed. Just as I settled myself on a step so I could see the stage, the MC announced the main man himself, Buju Banton.
Preceded by his three backing singers, all dressed in black jeans and green camouflage vest tops, the opening strains of 'Destiny' were heard and the voice of Buju off-stage as he started singing. The crowd gave him a warm welcome as he bounded onto the stage dressed in stone coloured jeans and matching jacket with white frayed stitching.
After 'Not An Easy Road', Buju removed his jacket to reveal a white t-shirt and sang 'Mighty Dread'. He then said it was time for some Dancehall and performed a slew of hits including 'Up Close and Personal', 'Leggo Mi Hand' and 'Walk Like a Champion' on the Bad Boys rhythm.
The band launched into a Ska rhythm and as Buju sang 'Better Must Come' he called up another man to show the audience how to dance to Ska. They gave much appreciation for the lesson before Buju moved onto 'Hills and Valleys'.
Buju then went back on a Dancehall excursion and as he called out "Gal me serious, me haffe get you tonight. Haffe get your body even by…" all the men around me sang along. The ladies were definitely feeling 'Goldspoon' before the Joy Ride rhythm gave us "How it ago go…"
The Gargamel was on a roll and the crowd chorused with him when he sang, "Good looking gal, how you look so good, I wanna get personal." After 'Worl a Run', Buju did his controversial tune 'Boom Bye Bye' much to the crowd's delight and their reaction was immense with arms raised and voices adding to that of Buju's backing singers. After doing 'Love Black Woman', 'Browning' and 'Movie Star', Buju left the stage followed by his backing singers with claps and cheers ringing in his ears. The MC asked if the crowd wanted more, which was a silly question, judging by the positive response he received.
On his return Buju pressed out more famous songs such as 'Big Man Don't Cry', 'I Wanna Be Loved' and 'Til Shiloh'. Just a guitar for the first part of the song accompanied the latter. He then covered a Bob Marley track, "Rastaman Vibration" before 'Love Sponge', 'Pull It Up', 'Big It Up' and 'Battyrider'.
The chorus was out again in full force on 'Murderer' and the Lord's Prayer which he ended on calling out "London, me love you" before exiting the stage for the last time.
Buju gave his fans over an hour of 1st class entertainment covering old and newer material proving he was most definitely the Gargamel.
Many thanks to Bagga John for supporting this review.