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Tough act to follow

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

American music industry veteran Brian Greenspoon was among the thousands of anticipants who rolled into the National Stadium in Kingston on March 16 to see Buju Banton at his Long Walk to Freedom comeback concert. Like most people who attended, he was blown away by the Grammy winner's performance, his first since being deported to Jamaica in December.

But Greenspoon, who is head of multi-faceted company Spoonfed Entertainment, warns that promoters of future shows featuring the singjay may find it difficult repeating the full house in Jamaica.

“As far as setting the pace for the rest of the tour, Buju will go on to perform in Trinidad, The Bahamas, Barbados and beyond. And make no mistake, those shows will be visceral experiences for anyone lucky enough to attend but I don't believe that the National Stadium can ever be replicated. This once-in-a-lifetime event has solidified Buju Banton's name in the pages of music history for all of eternity,” Greenspoon told the Jamaica Observer.

General estimates reckon 32,000 patrons were in the National Stadium. The scene was reminiscent of the late 1990s when Jamaica's Reggae Boyz football team consistently packed what was then referred to as 'The Office', on their way to qualification for the World Cup in France.

The next show is scheduled for March 30 in Nassau, The Bahamas capital, at Thomas A Robinson Stadium which carries a capacity of 15,000.

Greenspoon believes Buju performing on home turf, after eight years since his arrest, trial and sentence on drug charges, was the main factor for the Kingston gig being so successful.

“This show was a crucial first step, as Buju re-enters the musical arena after such a long hiatus. Performing at National Stadium to his countrymen was the appropriate choice. He is, after all, the Voice of Jamaica,” he said.

Greenspoon has covered a lot of ground in his 25-year career in the music business, having worked at Island, Elektra and VP Records before starting Spoonfed Entertainment. His latest venture provides marketing, booking and public relations for acts such as Sugar Bear, Rayvon, Etana, Kenny Vance, Iron Solomon and DejaVilla, as well as producers Collin “Bulby” Yorke and Steven “Lenky” Marsden, musical director of Buju Banton's Til Shiloh band.

As for the show, Greenspoon rates it as one of the best he has seen.

“It was loaded with so many highlights, it is difficult to single out a few. When Cocoa Tea chanted 'Sweet sweet Jamaica, Jah Jah send Buju forward to wi' to the tune of Holy Mount Zion, it sent chills throughout the entire stadium. Everyone in attendance knew that they were witnessing history,” he said. “There was a vibration in the stadium that I've never experienced before at another concert. You could feel the spirit of an entire nation, which was only compounded by the spirit of the entire music community, who showed up in numbers from all over the world to support the Gargamel's return.”