78.7 F
Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 27, 2024


Lionel Roberts Stadium was pleasantly packed for the third night and grand finale. People stretched from the stage to the walls and the bleachers were almost totally filled.
The only real slack was in the first base line bleachers, which were dedicated to VIP and media seating. On the field, there were a few blankets and towels used for rest between acts, but when a headliner appeared, everyone was on their feet and moving. One could walk in and out of the crowd, but barely.
The Sunday night crowd was estimated at some 20 percent greater than opening night Friday — and that 9,500 figure was pegged as Sinbad's biggest ever.
A Soul Music Festival is a combination of many factors: food, frolic and friends are right up there with entertainment.
According to educators and psychologists, it is a gestalt. The Sinbad SMF in St. Thomas has had it all over the past four days. The big question now is: "Will he do it again?"
There were several hints. Deniece Williams sang a gospel piece a-cappella, belted out the next number and came back for an encore. Following her set, Sinbad told her: "We want you back if we do this again."
Next was the dynamic Kathy Sledge who sang "We Are Family." Following her number, Sinbad expressed the desire for her to "return next year with your sisters." Sledge is the lead singer of Sister Sledge. The man is definitely not closing any doors.
The numbers won't be in for a while; but by all appearances, the week has been a huge success. The problems have been few and easily remedied.
The St. Thomas taxi drivers need to look at the bottom line and get with the program. Volume does beat price-gouging and it is time to regulate this major factor in our economy.
The airlines and charters need some marketing expertise to maximize customer satisfaction. Special consideration should be paid to length of stay, allowing at least a full week.
Finally, the Sinbad organization needs to realize the media are their friends rather than a nuisance.
A final problem is downtime between acts. Friday night Sinbad and a couple of DJs kept the crowd occupied between stage changes. Sunday night dragged with breaks approaching an hour. One excellent comic stepped in to fill the downtime, delivering some excellent standup comedy. Fifty minutes to change drum sets, however, appears excessive.
Many of the talents mentioned the year 1979 with regard to their work. This means they have had 20 more years to polish their act, but it also means they have a physical endurance challenge. These entertainers are truly amazing.
Another observation is the number of old-time funksters who want the audience to scream, wave their hands and generally cheer up the performer. No shrinking violets here.
Sinbad introduced several of the new generation of Soul and it became immediately apparent these younger people are serious about their music. They play and sing, don't count on people screaming, and appear more a professional musician rather than a brash cut-up.
The musical menu began with Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band doing an hour set of action music. Then there was a potpourri, ranging from Joe, Jon B and El DeBarge to Deniece Williams and Kathy Sledge, a surprise guest not on the printed program. The final of the finale was Smokey Robinson who simply sang for joy.
Robinson was backed by a great mix of almost a dozen strings, including lots of violins, cellos and guitar; a superb sax/clarinet/flute; keyboard; percussion; brass; and a director complete with baton. As far as the crowd was concerned, they could have played forever.
No question, Sinbad delivers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.