By Kevin Jackson, Jamaica Observer
It did not take much for elder statesman Freddie McGregor to ignite the crowd at Appleton Estate in Siloah, St Elizabeth last Saturday. The mere mention of his name while the Big Ship band got into gear with a musical interlude, set patrons on fire.
The first Live at The Estate, hosted by J Wray and Nephew’s Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, saw McGregor delving deep into his extensive catalogue while patrons danced up a storm.
From ska to rocksteady, then reggae and dancehall, McGregor had the crowd under his spell for close to one hour. Carry Go Bring Come, Born A Winner, Stop Loving You, the soothing So I’ll Wait For You, Big Ship, and an interpretation of Dennis Brown’s Here I Come, were part of his impressive set.
McGregor’s performance capped a satisfying day in which select guests were taken on the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience where they learned about the process of making the famous liqueur.
Prior to the tour, singer and musician Ziah from Manchester also did well; his set comprised a rendition of Koffee’s Toast on violin. He threw in a few of his original songs for good measure.
Telecia Lindo-Johnson, marketing manager at Appleton Estate, explained the concept behind Live at The Estate.
“This is the home of Appleton Estate and we know we have a phenomenal experience down here. The Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience is amazing, and we know the grounds, we know that when people come here, they learn about the journey from cane to rum. We wrapped it in a package, because we have a marriage between Appleton Estate Rum and reggae music, two authentic Jamaican products.”
McGregor was hip to the idea.
“I did the Appleton Estate Signature Series before in Ocho Rios, so when they contacted me for Live in The Estate, I readily said yes. I really love doing concerts like these because it keeps you up close with the audience. You know what the people came for and all you have to do is give them what they want. I really enjoyed myself tonight,” he said.
According to Lindo-Johnson, there is a strong possibility of it becoming a series.
“This was a test and we’re going around getting the feedback. We know people enjoyed it and it’s something that we are considering. We’ll see what 2020 brings,” she said.