As part of the "Journey To Jah - European Tour" Gentleman & the Far East Band did a show at the Bonbonnière in Maastricht, The Netherlands on Wednesday 12 May 2004. In recent years Gentleman has built a large fanbase in Germany and thus it didn't come as a surprise that many of his German fans had found their way to Maastricht, due to the fact that this town is situated near the German border. While former Dutch champion sound RUNN Sound was playing their usual selection of eighties dancehall tunes in order to warm up the audience, the baroque music hall slowly got crowded. About half an hour before showtime the house was packed phat and tension was growing. It was 11:20pm when the Far East Band took the stage in front of an enthusiastic reacting crowd. The show kicked off with a tune called "Stranded", sung by Matthias The Dread a.k.a. King Matthias.

left to right : RUNN Sound, King Matthias, Gentleman, Far East Band, Gentleman.

After that the Far East Band played a medley of well known Gentleman riddims merging into the first beats of a wonderful song titled "Blessings Of Jah". Then the voice of Gentleman emerged from the background for a few seconds before he entered the stage and faced an enraptured crowd. The fans literally exploded and forced him to do a "pull up". Also his next tunes "See Dem Coming" and "Jah Inna Yuh Life" drew great reactions from the audience and made them sing along with Gentleman. It was obvious that this show was a home match with Gentleman, the backing vocalists and the tight playing Far East Band - expertly driven by drummer Marco Baresi and bass player Andre Heyer - fully taking advantage of the great atmosphere and wicked vibes created by their fans. From the very beginning to the end the good vibes between Gentleman and the audience dominated the show. Not only treated Gentleman the crowd to a selection of well known tunes like e.g. "Rainy Days", "Fire Ago Bun Dem", "Empress", "Rumours", and "Dem Gone", he also provided a glimpse of his forthcoming album that will hit the streets in September 2004. First he performed "Mystic Wind", a new tune he did in combination with Tony Rebel and then another combination tune - recorded with reggae queen Marcia Griffiths. Other new songs on the setlist were "Warrior", "Reggae Got Soul", "Strange Things", "Learn", the recent single "Overjoyed" and the excellent "Jah Guide The City".

left to right : Gentleman in front of HIS audience, Gentleman again (2x), Far East Band.

In between backing vocalists Matthias, Tamika and Mamadee were given room to display their vocal talents with solo appearences and one combination song. Unfortunately it were not the best parts of this show, but it gave Gentleman the opportunity to "chill out" a little bit. When he came to remembering some of those who have passed away - Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller and Garnett Silk, he gave us one of the most striking moments of that night when he payed tribute to Garnett Silk, which once more underlines that fact that Gentleman is a conscious artist. He gave the public a truly wicked medley of Garnett Silk tunes including "Zion In A Vision", "Jah Jah Is The Ruler" and "Disadvantage", but it didn't cause any decent signal (of recognition) from the crowd. It was obvious that the particularly young audience seemingly had little knowledge of reggae's history. The show ended with three encores, which included "Sunshine", "Live It Up", "Leave Us Alone" and "Runaway". During "Runaway" Gentleman invited two members of Amsterdam based group Fiyah 3 to join him on stage giving them the opportunity to deliver a few lines over the riddim of one of their favorite Gentleman tunes. Then the band left the stage and Gentleman rounded off with an accapella version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song", sung together with HIS audience. Two hours after the show had started it ended in fine style.

left to right : Mamadee, Tamika, Gentleman, G. & Andre Hayer, G. performing Redemption Song.

Musically apoken this show took its course at a constant level. The only "minus" is the absence of the Jamaican artists who join him in popular combination tunes, which would have caused even more highlights in his show. However, this is a problem that can never be solved as these artists simply aren't available to join Gentleman on tour. Thus we think that it would have been better when Daddy Rings, who was present at the "Journey To Jah - German Tour 2002/2003", had been involved here too. He has a deeper and harder voice than Gentleman and the combination of these two artists on stage has proven to be a good formula (as can be witnessed on the "Live" cd and dvd). But, all in all the audience had a real good time as they were treated to a worthwhile show with nuff enjoyable moments, and that's what counts, isn't it?!

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Text: Mr. T    Photos: Teacher

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