Well boy the traffic for AC like it started from EARLY. At around 11pm when i finally got out the house there was not a park in the environs of the stadium. Peopler were trying to fit all how on the sidewalks, double parking on ppl..all kinda madness. You would think after buying a 'Platinum' ticket you wouldat least have a chance at a parking spot in the stadium...but nooooo the stadium parking was reserved for the artistes and 'invited guests.Fortunately we had someone holding a spot close by and were able to park pretty easily once we navigated the traffic.
So we started the trek to the stadium. I apparently was the only person in my group who actually looked at the map in the papers to see where was what.Both general and Platinum had the same first point of entry. There were hundreds of general adminission ppl fighting up at the scaffolding gates. The police were actually just picking people out the line and searching them which can tell you how shady some of them appeared. We just looked at each other like WTF.So basically we had to walk arund the stadium along with the thousands of general people to get to the platinum entrance which was past the general entrance. Now I don't know if this is how it always I have been able to park inside the stadium on previous occasions but the arrangement seemed do defeat the purpose of 'Platinum' guests. We got to another checkpoint which which again had throngs of people. In attempting to run up the side of the masses we were forced into teh pack by police. After not moving anywhere for a few minutes we again tried to run up the side, only to realise that we were on the right track because they was one single lane for the Platinum patrons to bypass the crowd. In fact, this was the general entrance at the marathon tunnel. We were just lucky to see the sign otherwise we would have been stuck in the jam for hours. Sowe were able to pass through and go to yet another checkpoint which was the actual Platinum entrance at the covered stands. I almost died laughing when I saw a group of fellas going up the spiral stairs in the lobby which is very different to the stadium stairs and clearly led to nowhere! A guard had to run them down but they really thought they were going to the concert that way.I guess they have never been to the stadium.
Yet again the migration up the stairs and down the stands was congested since there were only two available stairwells for use and only two bridges to cross to get onto the grounds. The grounds were very well lit almost bright as day. It was clearly noticable that the Platinum section was lacking in numbers. I figured most ppl were still fighting up in traffic and it would fill up eventually. So we headed to the bar only to find that it was sponosred by ANgostura therefore there was no Johnny walker. I think the men in my party almost had an anxiety attack at this discovery and spent the next half hour going to every single bar to see what they could come up with. Apparently they had Blu vodka and Grey Goose available to buy by the bottle yet everybar was already sold out of it!! This meant that everyone was resigned to drinking beers and black bottle all night. I for one drank nothing but LLB. I could not believe in the Platinum section that the OPTION was not available to buy. Almost everyone I ran into was complaining about the lack of Premium liquor. Worse yet you also had to buy food.
During thsi period of srink hunting Shurwayne was on stage performing and I was basically ignoring him because I had seen him the night before. It did not escape me however that Shurwayne had included some familiar rhythems in his performance that I associated with Machel. I had made the same observation the previous night at Voodoo when Shurwayne used the track that Machel would use to introduce the 'Powderpuff girls'. At the time I thought litlle of it but shortly thereafter news filtered from backstage that Machel had totally tripped out on Shurwayne for using some of 'his' tracks during his AC performance. From all reports it was a pretty heated argument. (Machel later addressed the incident on a live interview on th elocal CNC 3 Channel this evening and minimised the incident).We were all anxious to see if Machel would even grace us with his presence.
The lights were dimmed soon after and whaddya know....parachute men in the sky! I was like WTF once again because I was QUITE sure that thsi was how he started the show last year. This time he did not even pretend to be one of the men in the air.Come on...better than that Machel. I must say Machel and Co. always give their all and they put on a great show but in truth and fact , their was very little difference between last year and this year. It was obvious that they did not have as many patrons in the Platinum section as they did last year.
Some highlights of the show included the performances of Busy Signal and Skinny Fabulous. Two kid stars from the Boy Boy Musical also had a two feature performances. Don't ask me how their parents gave them permission to be up after 2am. Strangely enough, the biggest forward of the night came from the Chinese segment where they introduced Chinee, winner of the Synergy Soca Star. I give him props for his achievements but would love to see what he comes with after his current song about being Chinee. He then introduced teh original Chinee soca star..Chinese Laundry. And you would swear it was Jay-z or something the way the place throw down!
Patrice and Zan pulled their weight with the usual selections. Pitbull joined Machel onstage as the show was winding down and it was pretty much a repeat of last years performance. Yeah ok , we all still love 'Defense' but he had little else to wow us. His newer tunes don't get much hype including the other one with Machel ( yeah the one where he calls every country and says they get crazy). Lucky for us (scarcastic) Lil Jon managed to make his flight this year but I can't say it made a big difference to the performance. Yeah, he might be a big hip hop artist if it was a summer concert but to come and sing your tunes from last year during Carnival...Lil Jon was kinda whack. 'The floor is on fire' went over well with the crowd but again Lil Jon had very little input into it.I was not amused when Lil Jon said he would be on the road and I am praying he is not in Tribe cause I definitely doh want to hear that crunk sheet on the road.
I actually made my exit during their performance which I can only presume wrapped up the show. This was mainly due to the fact that the set up was the same as last year and I anticipated another crushing mob when the whole VIP tried to get across to itsy bitsy bridges. We got out of there quickly and was speed walking out the stadium in 5 mins only to be face with the daunting task of cutting through the mob of exiting general patrons. We risked it as it was still early and only a few people were exiting and were then able to cut through to the back gate to exit the stadium.I was in St.James buying a burger within 10 minutes. I was spared the traffic which I am sure would have been just as paiful as that going to the venue.
All in all, if you went last year then you missed nothing this year.In fact , you probably did not miss anything in general that you could not see at one of the other fetes. I actually watched 'Boy Boy and the Magic Drum' on TV before I went to AC so their were no surprises for me.If you had paid money to go in then it was highway robbery cause the bars were crappy. Its still convenient for the older folks who want to sit and see the show but they also have to fight up for parks and deal with the masses of people to get to and from. Compared to the show Machel had two years ago with Peter Minshall's input, the show is heading downhill. There were actually more special guests last year and I think I enjoyed it more (maybe cause I had a few drinks). My advice, if you want to go to Machel's longest performance where he performs most of his hits, then go AC but if you want a whole drinks and entertainment package you are better off elsewhere.