“Stripped The Concert” Scores The 2nd Time Around

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By Essiba Small

They say when it’s nice, do it twice. And fortunately for St Lucian singer Teddyson John, his second Stripped The Concert,  held on Wednesday night at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port of Spain, turned out to be better than his first, staged at the same venue last year.

Nadia Batson, Alison Hinds and Mical Teja failed to appear, as advertised; with John dragging on the concert somewhat before finally admitting that he was waiting for the singers to arrive.

Still, Stripped was worth every bit of the ticket price, with guests Destra Garcia, Skinny Fabulous and Kees delivering quality, stripped-down versions of their songs – Destra with “Lucy” and “Soca Eden”,  Kes with “Magic” and “I Love it”, Skinny Fabulous with “Worst Behaviour” and “When the Lights Go Down” (his song with Black Shadow).

During her set, Destra said she loved the format of the stripped-down soca and told the audience that one day she would love to give her songs a gospel treatment.

Destra’s welcome to the stage was a warm one, as the audience screamed and cheered at the appearance of the self-titled Queen of Bacchanal.

Kees’s female fans are a loyal bunch, and made sure their voices were heard – with one person boldly shouting  “love you, Kees” when the music went low.  Soca’s lover boy, never one to disappoint, had them eating out of his hands. 

But it was Skinny whom no one saw coming in the night’s format. He was playful, flirtatious and even humorous – at one point impersonating Machel Montano. He was a ball of high energy, restrained somewhat by a slower beat; but it  was a pleasure to watch him (listen, too) contain that energy – his gritty, melodious vocals like sandpaper against the sultry vocals of the backup singers’. 

Stripped also featured Shemmy J and Kayo, John’s fellow Lucians, who – while being excellent vocalists – had to grow on their new audience.  

The Teddyson Project band was tight, their sound  full and lush; and the man of the moment — John- didn’t leave anyone at NAPA doubting his vocal prowess.

John was vulnerable, emotional, even tearing up as he sang “Dreaming”. His other songs, “Crème de la crème”, “Pray”, “Allez” and “Leave /Kita Sa” were made even more beautiful in the stripped form.

The St Lucia songwriter also paid tribute to his deceased friends – fellow singer Ricardo Drue and Blaxx – with jazzy versions of “ID Stamp Yuh Name” (Drue) and Blaxx’s “Mash Up”.  Discussing the show after the curtain came down, a few  patrons opined that John would do well to cut down on the talking during his set, in the future, since his song introduction videos were sufficient.

Two lucky winners left the venue with prizes, including a 50-inch TV, a trip to St Lucia and a goodie bag.

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