Tag: jrgong


Reggae Sumfest Almost Ready For Jamaican Blast-Off

 JIM BYERS  JUNE 17, 2019


Reggae Sumfest Jamaica
Reggae Sumfest runs in Montego Bay, Jamaica in late July of this year.

Damian Marley had the Sumfest crowd hooked with lively performance

Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)Damian Marley performs at Reggae Sumfest 2018 on Sunday morning. (PHOTOS: Marlon Reid)

Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley had the Catherine Hall crowd hooked for just over one hour with a energetic performance at Reggae Sumfest on Sunday morning,

It was Marley at his best as he engaged the crowd constantly and had audience members lapping up every minute of his set which also saw him showing off his fitness with knee lifts as he celebrated his 40th birthday,

Numbering in the tens of thousands, the Catherine Hall crowd sang loudly to almost all of Junior Gong’s presentations that included samples from hits by his father, late reggae legend Bob Marley.

Marley’s son Elijah perfoms ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ in tribute to his father who turned 40 on Saturday.

Marley’s performance also included songs from his last album ‘Stony Hill’ which earlier this year beat an illustrious field to cop the Reggae Grammy. It was not limited though, with music from his previous works.

The audience was also treated to a touching moment when Marley’s son Elijah joined him on stage and sang Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, dedicating the song to his father, whose birthday was on Saturday.

Marley had opened his set with ‘Here We Go’ from the Stony Hill album before going into his combination with Skrillex, ‘Make It Bun Dem’, ‘Set Up Shop’, ‘Ghetto Youth’ and another combination, ‘Beautiful’ with Bobby Brown.

Marley would then talk about the healing benefits of ganja before doing ‘Medication’, ‘The Mission’, ‘Police And Thief Inna Shoot’ and ‘Love And Unity’.

Kabaka Pyramid joined Junior Gong on stage.

His father’s ‘War’ and ‘Exodus’ would follow before ‘Everybody Wants To Be Somebody’ and ‘A Man Is Just A Man’ .

Kabaka Pyramid joined Marley on stage for their combination, ‘Kontraband’, after which ‘Junior Gong’ performed ‘Living It Up’, a song celebrating his father’s victory over poverty and inspiring others in similar circumstances to do the same.

He once again had the audience singing along to ‘Road To Zion’ and the ever-popular ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ with which he closed his well-received set.

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Gong Fest At Reggae Sumfest

Elijah Marley on stage at Reggae Sumfest on Saturday night.

While it was Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley who was celebrating a birthday, he was the one who left all those at the closing night of Reggae Sumfest 2018 with a musical gift.

The 2017 Reggae Grammy winner worked like an inspired man, digging generously into his own catalogue while also evoking memories of his famous father – King of Reggae, Bob Marley. As he sang and danced to his heart’s content, the son of the legend, who came off a tour in Europe to perform at Reggae Sumfest, made it clear that “there is no place like home.”

He sent the fans into a screaming and dancing frenzy with his popular ‘anthem’, Welcome to Jamrock, and his performance of Medication made the audience ‘high’.

In reflecting on his journey to age 40, the lanky ‘Gongzilla’ paid tribute to his parents for giving him the life he now enjoys. “My parents worked hard for me to have a good life,” said Marley, whose own son, Elijah, stole the hearts of many patrons when he strolled centre stage and gave his dad a lyrical gift – singing Stevie Wonder’s monster hit, I Just Call To Say I Love You, which had his dad clearly bemused, and his grandmother – former Miss World Cindy Breakspeare – singing along from side stage, beaming with pride.

Intent on giving patrons a lyrical gift, Junior Gong made light of his birthday, declaring, “me put it off till next year,” when joining him on stage Kabaka Pyramid told the crowd that, “he celebrated his birthday yesterday (Saturday) and I want you to say happy birthday to the ‘Gongzilla.”

The singer ended his set with a playful exchange with his son, who had returned to the stage to dance up a storm during the delivery of Welcome to Jamrock. As he ran across the stage, his dad playfully chased him, much to the delight of the fans. When finally caught, father and son laughed heartily as they hugged each other.

True to his fan-given moniker, Gongzilla smashed and trampled expectations, leaving Montego Bay in the blissful aftermath of his musical destruction.

Responses To Junior Gong’s Performance

“What a man … what a performance,” remarked radio personality Denise ‘Isis’ Miller, who was clearly moved by the performance.

Dr Sonja Niaah: “We have not begun to see the best of Junior Gong. He understands himself and the crowd in a very, very unique way. In so many ways he is already legendary. He recognises that he is part of an empire, whether he is speaking or on a stage.”

Professor Donna Hope: “Damian’s performance was impressive, stellar. He always delivers. His son giving him that tribute for his birthday was simply awesome.”

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Video & Setlist: Damian Junior Gong Marley @ Reggae Sumfest 2018

On his 40th birthday (July 21) Damian Marley headlined Reggae Sumfest 2018, which was his fourth appearance within the past 10 years.

On his set he welcomed Kabaka Pyramid on stage to perform their combination Kontraband.
During Could You Be Loved Damian was joined by his son Elijah, who sang a verse of  Stevie Wonder‘s  I Just Called To Say I Love You in honor of his father’s birthday.

After the performance Junior Gong was interviewed by Nikki Zand he gave a little outlook:

We just did a tour in Europe for three and a half weeks. Right now we are taking a little break off the road. Sumfest was actually the last stop for touring for a little while. I’m looking forward now, to going forward in the studios. I’m working on an album with Third World. I’m doing some production on that album, which I hopefully finish up soon and then starting doing some music for myself, too

Later that night at Sumfest, Damian Marley joined Cham on stage to perform Fighter.

Check the full Reggae Sumfest 2018 setlist below

01. Intro
02. Here We Go
03. Make It Bun Dem
04. Set Up Shop
05. More Justice
06. Hey Girl
07. Beautiful
08. Affairs of the Heart
09. Upholstery
10. Medication
11. The Mission
12. Love & Inity
13. War/No More Trouble
14. Move!
15. Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
16. Nail Pon Cross
17. Kontraband feat. Kabaka Pyramid
18. Living It Up
19. Could You Be Loved feat. Elijah
20. Road To Zion
21. Welcome To Jamrock