Beres Hammond said it’s been almost two years since he’s performed for fans onstage, but on Sunday, February 28, the legendary crooner made up for lost time with a memorable virtual concert titled, “Love From a Distance”.
Hammond’s concert, which was streamed on his Facebook page, VP Records’ YouTube page and all Reggae Month social media accounts, closed the curtains on this year’s Reggae Month celebrations.
Jamaicans and reggae fans from across the diaspora tuned in to see Hammond take the stage at 9 PM. Backed by a live band and backup singers, the 65-year-old belted out hit after hit, bringing the same energy he’s known for in front of a live audience.
One of the musicians who formed part of the live band, saxophonist Conrad Pinnock, explained what the preparation was like leading up to the event.
“We had a week of rehearsals. The preparation was intense, quite a few hours per day as this show was expected to be high-caliber with the living legend, Beres Hammond,” Pinnock told CNW Network. He also stated that the COVID-19 safety protocols were a must for the entire production team, musicians and management.
As the show went on, Beres was joined by longtime friend and collaborator, Grammy Award-winning artiste Buju Banton to perform A Little More Time, Falling In Love All Over Again and Can You Play Some More. The ‘Queen of Reggae’, Marcia Griffiths also joined Hammond on stage to perform the hit Live On.
The biggest surprise of the night was an appearance by dancehall star, Popcaan, who shared the stage with Hammond, performing a yet-to-be-released collaboration, God is Love. Popcaan hailed Hammond as a “living legend”.
The concert pulled millions of fans from across the world. Pinnock said he knew the show would be well-received but was shocked at the numbers.
“This was a moment in history. I knew the show would be well-received across the diaspora because we’re talking about Beres Hammond, a living legend. But it was an eye-opener for me when I saw the number of viewers. It was an awesome feeling to know that so many people tuned in.” Pinnock said.
The South Florida-based saxophonist said he was grateful to Mervis Walsh, manager of Hammond, and to the entire Harmony House team that he could be part of it.
Within one day of the event, the virtual concert had received some 600,000 views on VP Records’ Youtube page alone, making it one of the biggest virtual shows held in Jamaica since COVID-19.