With over 10,000 patrons, Greenfield Stadium in Trelawny, Jamaica was the place to be on Saturday, January 30, 2010. At the last night of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues festival, Third World Band closed out what was already a phenomenal event. While the night was unseasonably cold, that was not a hindrance as fans came prepared with blankets, sweaters and chairs in anticipation of the Reggae Ambassador's performance. An even greater testament of the band's loyal fan base was the fact that while they did not grace the stage until 2:00 am, patron remained patient - undaunted by the elements and the time.
Ushered in by screams that could be heard from miles away, Third World opened with "The Spirit Lives," a dedication to the people of Haiti and a single from their upcoming album Patriots. The heartfelt dedication was followed by "Sense of Purpose." Fans sang along and mouthed every word of the song with lead singer William "Rugs" Clark. Rugs basked in the moment as he connected with his fans by touching the hands of those positioned at the front of the stage. The bass ushered in the third song "Reggae Ambassador," another one of the band's international hits. As the excitement grew, the band had to "pull up" and begin the song again. The crowd continued to sing along and the band was happy to oblige crowd with their untiring performance.
Those who were not fortunate enough to attend Jazz and Blues were afforded the opportunity to watch a live stream of the first three songs, performed by the band, via the internet on www.livestream.com. Turnkey Productions and Steadyimage partnered with www.ination.tv/live-nation estimated 700,000 subscribers globally and www.livestream.com in order to bring the event to over 1.5 million viewers. During the live stream, fans commented on Third World's performance in the chat room, all of which were positive. The only negative feedback was that the stream was cut short - leaving fans wanting more.
The hour and fifteen minute long set was far from over. As the chill remained in the air, the harmony for "96 Degrees" rippled through the venue causing an instant heat wave. The temperature seemed to only get hotter when drummer Tony "Ruption" Williams took center stage to perform "African Woman." The up tempo drum solo brought everyone to their feet, as fans danced and chanted along. This heart racing performance was complimented by Stephen "Cat" Coore's solo performance of "Cello" - another selection from Patriots. Exhibiting a truly amazing gift, fans watched in awe as Cat elegantly played the Cello.
The band closed with "Try Jah Love" and "Now that We've Found Love." While that was the close of their performance, it is the beginning of the group's 35th Anniversary Celebration tour. The tour will celebrate the band's 35years as trail blazers of Reggae Music. Founded in 1973, the band's 35th anniversary was in 2008 but due to a rigorous touring schedule and issues beyond their control with recording their album Patriot, the celebration had to be put on hold until 2010. Patriot, which is a tribute to Jamaican heroes such as Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Nanny of the Maroons, among others, will feature guest artists Tarrus Riley, Marcia Griffith, Toots, Tessanne Chin and Stephen and Damian Marley.
Prior to their show stopping performance at Jazz and Blues, the Riu Hotel in Montego Bay hosted a press conference for Third World. During that time, the band answered questions about their music, the tour, the upcoming release of their 22nd album Patriots and artists that they worked with on said album. As stated by Cat Coore, "We remixed "96 Degrees" which now features Damian and Stephen Marley. It is a twist that I believe fans will enjoy." Third World revealed that the upcoming tour will take them to South and East Africa, Singapore, Japan, Europe, Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
The groups continued popularity can be attributed to their timeless music. However, it is believed that this is just the tip of the iceberg for the megastars. In an interview with writer Pat Meshino, William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke stated, "There are places where we would like to perform, including China and Russia. Most of our time is spent touring, but we still want to produce more, make more records. Our mission has not yet been accomplished yet." Wherever their career takes them, one thing is certain, Third World will continue to be a beacon for Reggae music.