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Buju Banton at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden

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“I’m not here to work for the accolades of no man…artist singing about ‘signal di plane’ when poor people suffering all over di world…what kinda f*ckrey dat” roared Buju Banton to the sold out Theatre at Madison Square Garden on Sunday May 6th 2007.  The Gargamel along side legendary Dancehall King, Shabba Ranks, tore down the stage at Buju’s “Pre-Mother’s Day Driver Concert” marking the first time, two slick talking, reggae emcees ever sold out The Garden.  History was made in the building that night. Before reggae music’s ambassador, accompanied by his Shiloh Band, gave the true Buju lovers a taste of classic tunes from collectables like ‘Till Shiloh, Inna Heights, and 2006 Grammy nominated Too Bad, Dancehall’s First Lady and wicked p****ny lyricist, Lady Saw, strutted on stage patting her front to exclusive tracks from her new album Walk Out.   Other featured performers during the evening included, Jovi Rockwell, Khari Kill, Da’Ville, Tony Matterhon and Gargamel music protégée, New Kidz, who entertained a crowd of over 5,000 patrons with a brief set busting the latest dance moves currently mashing up the streets of Jamaica.“Driver/Don’t stop at all/Drop dis Arizona round a Alba Mall…” sang Buju, dressed clean in all white, as the crowd went wild screaming in unison, the catchy lyrics to his chart topping hustler anthem (“Driver A”).  The Gargamel continued on stage delivering a dynamic, well-balanced medley of Buju Banton hits; old and new, twisting and rocking, leaving the hyped up crowd singing and dancing non stop, throughout the entire performance.  Buju, also notorious for his conscious Roots tunes, took patrons down memory lane with classics like, “Easy Road,” “Hills & Valleys,” “Til Shiloh,” “Wanna be Loved,” and uplifting redemption favorite, “Untold Stories,” forcing heads back, eyes shut, and souls at ease as Buju cried out “It’s a competitive world for low budget people/Spending di dime while earning di nickel/ with no regards to who it may tickle/My cup is full to the brim…I could go on and on the full has never been told.”Engaging the audience in a childhood anecdote, chatting in his scruffy baritone, about meeting Shabba Ranks for the first time when he was a twiggy boy coming up in Kingston, Jamaica, Dancehall’s Father, two time Grammy award winning international reggae phenomenon, Shabba Ranks, charged on stage to throwback, “X-Rated.” The Garden went crazy!  “Shabba,” Ranks called, “in de ya,” the entire stadium responded before he jumped into hits like, “Wicked Inna Bed,” “Trailor Load a Girls,” “Music Lover” and “Love P*****y Bad,” hoping, wining and jooking’, bringing raw excitement to the festive stage. Veteran Caribbean radio personality, Dahved Levy (107.5 WBLS) with partners GB God Bless and Don Grant were the forces responsible for putting this extraordinary show together.  The sounds of the dancehall finally made there way into Madison Square Garden, Reggae music is elevating to a higher level. Big Up!

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