Last updated May 1st-2001. view at 800 x 600 .
Pato Banton and the Reggae Revolution.
stage one - 2-18-01
Photos courtesy of Eddie (2-17-01 )and the Great Offwhite Dude (2-18-01)
"Greetings Brothers and sisters .Greetings to black ,white ,pink or brown , this is Pato Banton and the Reggae Revolution going down . Positive vibrations every time, every time. "
Thus spake Pato Banton as he began his last set of the weekend and yes, it was positive vibrations all the way through this show, with many references to Jah and peace and love, and if some thought that Pato laid the god message it on bit thick at times , there is no doubt that he is genuine in his beliefs .He is also a master at developing a good times vibe in a crowd.
After this Pato talked about how Australia needs some promoters who will book reggae artists , or perhaps "some fans who will become promoters ". But , as he said , "Don't Worry " which was the precursor to "Don't Worry In Mind " . This featured a nice dub section which could have been expanded further. If theres any criticism of this band , its that they don't delve deeply enough into the possibilities of extended jamming and the players were more than capable of getting into that space if given the chance. But never mind , its enough that they do what they do so very well and quality reggae is so rare on the ground in Australia, its carping to niggle about what could be . The Reggae Revolution mght not have proved to be particularly revolutionary , but they provided a great dance opportunity .
"Worry In Mind " seagued directly into a paen to Nelson Mandela - "Celebrate " during which Pato lured an Aboriginal friend called Glen onstage to participate in the percussive interlude that took place during this number. Both Glen and percussionist Bongo Simeon got it on for this little duet which Pato concluded by saying "Glen and Bongo Simeon , African meets Aboriginal "which received a big cheer from the crowd . Pato then did a big rap on how we should all live togther as one and put a stop to predjudice of all kinds . Worthy sentiments, but it does slow down the momentum of a gig when the raps are so lengthy and it was these interludes that many commentators found a bit wearing .Friday night had not been taken up with quite so much " message"and it was definitely a more uptempo show than this one proved to be .
Despite all this though , it was still a fine gig,with lots of nice feelings in the audience, who were bopping throughout and full of good vibes the highpoint of this was the interlude where Pato asked us all to put our hands in the air and join hands with the two people next to us, "to forget about your ego , forget about the colour of your skin , reach out to your left hand side and grab the hand near you ,never mind if its a white hand, a black hand , a yellow hand, a pink hand "and almost everyone did what he asked . He then led us through a chorus of "What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love " and we all swayed in time together ,singing along , a great moment of solidarity.
Life is a Miracle followed and we heard the story of Pato becoming a grandfather and how the birth of his grandaughter Cheyanne inspired the song . It took me back to the birth of my first child and the feelings I went through after watching the baby come into this world. Its a tearjerker of a song alright ,but then so is the subject matter .Its another song that pushes Pato's religious beliefs , but in such a way that it avoids being overly preachy.
The next number combined the "Never Give in" theme of the song and Bob Marleys " Don't Give up the Fight " and was a much more uptempo number , as was the encore , " Now Generation " , which Pato maintained is the most appropriate number to finish the set as he believes we are the " Now Generation " . This number featured a nice little drums and bass interlude, where the bongo Simeon and Dadda Wah on bass had a cool workout ,Pato called the shots, telling the band what to do and I really got into it when they rolled into a short dubwise section - which would have been REALLY great if it had been allowed to develop further. The botanic park rocked to the dub as it had back in 1997 when Paul Kelly did da dub with Archie Roach and made me finally realise that he was not just a Bob Dylan clone .
So despite its religious and occasionally lightweight overtones this was a fitting end to the procedings on the main stage , a good times set from groove master Pato , lets hope it heralds the presence of more reggae artists on the Womadelaide schedule in the near future.
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