We finished our dinner at Cote, and ambled across the road to Barbican Hall, where we expected the show was in it’s warm-up phase, but as we walked through the door, it was evident the party was already in full swing. Settling into our seats, we didn’t know what to expect but the energy in the hall was hyper and the performers on stage, who at first I didn’t recognise, were giving everything and the crowd responded with full reprocity.


“Damaaagggggeeee”, shouted my sister over the din, and immediately I realised I knew the song they were singing and began to sing along. We caught the last of their set, but there was little pause, as they were ushered off stage to tumultuous applause, and the ‘G-Spot’ man came on to continue the vibe.

Lovers rock legends take to the stage

Things really elevated though, when the sounds of ‘Hopelessly in Love’ and the legend of Lovers Rock that is Caroll Thompson entered clad head to two in a fabulous cape sleeved flared jumpsuit. Ms Thompson electrified the crowd, the swaying the singing, the vibe, oh my god the nostalgia.

The velocity of artists on artists off wasn’t hectic, but it was rapid. In the manner that let us know that there was lots more to come, the MC respectfully saw off Carol but only to usher on the equally legendary Janet Kay, who entered as the introductory bars of her No1 hit ‘Silly Games’ began. The unmistable classic Denis Bovell drum beat accompanied by the clasical strings of the Jules Buckley Orchestra.

In UK circles, Caroll, Janet and Omar have songs that they don’t even have to sing, as the crowd will sing every lyric to the hit songs for which they are reknowned. Like many others on the night, I filmed snippets of the show on my phone, but I can’t really play the video excerts, because our vocals would ruin the experience for you.

Enter the Junglist massive

DJ interludes, included Junglist massive classics, such as General Levy’s Burial, Sweet Love, which Terri Walker dropped hard with a killer vocal. Donaeo brought another dimension to the performances with his ‘Party Hard’, who can forget the chant ’the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire, we don’t need no water let the bloodcl***t burn’, this gig was hi life on steroids.

In between the stage performances, the MC kept the energy hyped. We didn’t sit down for the whole of the show bar may-be 2 mins.

Migrate Skanking til the end

I’m setting up a Google Alert for the next year, as this inaugural Carnival Classics was a HIT!. We partied hard, and then like good middle-aged ravers, went home and woke the next morning aching from head to foot!