Sometimes you go to a show harbouring expectations of a great show but restraining yourself because your experience tell you it’s never as good as the show that’s going on in your mind. But then sometimes you get surprised- because the show becomes better than the show in your mind. This was the case with Pastor Shirley Caesar’s performance on Sunday at The Dome. After two hours I was ready for her to go anytime and when she said ‘I have five minutes…’ I did not feel any regret because since 7.45 we were wrapped in a graceful lifting of the spirit.
She held church! In her own incomparable manner managed to get to the people. Performed the songs I didn’t even expect her to play! Soldier in the army of God, Strong man, You’re next in line for a blessing– Lord have mercy! I was worried that she may not have brought a choir so the effect was not going to be the same as the performances I have seen- I was sadly mistaken- she had an octet of voices with her that knew what they were doing and complimented her very well! They could sing! I am open to being mistaken but I think the other members of the octet were the guys from The Mighty Clouds of joy! One guy had a falsetto that can put many of the young boys to shame- take lessons Robin Thicke; stand up and bow Maxwell!
Pastor Shirley took command of the stage, total command of her voice and she was not just regurgitating a set she has done everywhere else (at least it didn’t feel like it- which is the most important part)- it felt like I am having a unique praise experience I am likely not to have again even if she comes to perform again.
Yes, there were moments where the band messed up a little and missed their cue- but she quickly got them in line- she’s an imposing character with very strong presence. My favourite part I swear was when she performed ‘you’re next in line for a blessing‘ and gave a $100 note to a random person in the audience, apparently guided by the spirit to this person! And I promise you that lady looked like she really needed it! One of those humble women that try their best- the story of her life was told on her face! It was just an amazing experience!
Pastor Shirley then led prayer as a closure to the show and I felt I have made up for all the months that I have not been going to church! GOD was in The Dome- for a moment there I could feel the spirit! I was completely humbled. Dare I say it was the rest I needed when the lull enveloped us coz my lungs were about to explode from the exhaustion of jumping around singing and praising and running around Hala in God! (Praising like a crazy person).I have not done that in a concert in a while! By the time she performed ‘I remember mama’- I was just so content it didn’t matter what came next and just when I thought she would not do my own personal anthem “He’ll do it again“, she did- as a closing verse to the whole spiritual experience! HE had done it again!
She invited a few people to sing along- amongst them our own queen of gospel music Rebecca Malope- who was literally dwarfed by Shirley’s presence- I swear she could not perform! There was a young lady in the audience who belted it out and blew the house down! If she’s not a professional singer- she certainly should be. She was certainly much better than the people that were performing earlier as opening acts (who said gospel music has to be just shouting and garbled lyrics!). I really hope our gospel artists learned a lesson or two about how to tap on one’s authenticity and put on a brilliant gospel show!
The organisation was also great- the ushers were at their best behaviour, the security and place was relatively clean when people left. The time between the performances were long enough to allow the band to set up- it was not irritatingly long as it usually is- like it usually happens when somebody else I know has organised it.
Spotted a couple of people there who are schlebs, I just don’t know their names! Pastor Musa Sono was there with his wife. Sharon D was also there with her beautiful smile (apparently she’ll be performing at the Birchwood on 11 December, launching her album Ekhaya- I heard a song or two from it- it sounds really good).
A friend of mine summed it up perfectly “this is payback for all the bad shows that we have seen throughout the year”. And he was right- if I never go to another concert again; at least I have closed the year with a bang!
All-in-all a magnificent Sunday evening out- Thank you pastor Shirley Caesar for being the messenger that brought the blessings! I feel ready for 2010 already!