Now in his mid-sixties, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert is still going strong and continues to tour all over the world. His dates at the Concorde are always sold out, with people of all ages in attendance, showing the timeless appeal of his music.
His band consists of a drummer, six string bassist, lead and rhythm guitar, a keyboard player and two female backing singers. One of the singers, Chantelle Hernandez sings two songs to open the show, one of them a lively version of “First cut is the deepest”.
After a 15 minute break, Toots comes onto the stage to huge applause and immediately launches into “Pressure drop”. Most of the songs he plays tonight provoke mass sing-alongs and you realise just how well known these tunes are and how subsequent generations have got to know them. So we get to hear classics like “Tighten up”, “Reggae got soul”, “Sweet and dandy”, “Funky Kingston”, “Monkey Man” and his cover version of John Denver’s “Country road”. There’s plenty of call and response and Toots likes to get people clapping along. At times the band play in a Gospel style, giving the gig a revival atmosphere.
Poor sound quality for the vocals was the only spoiler, with Toots getting visibly upset and constantly asking the sound man to sort out his microphone. Not something you would expect throughout a whole gig so something the Concorde should definitely sort out.
Crappy sound aside, there was a great atmosphere in the steamy venue with each song receiving an enthusiastic reception. Always a great gig when Toots rolls into town.