sean-paul_web.jpgThe Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has headlined musical legends such as five-time Grammy Award winner Gloria Estefan, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Prince and multi-Grammy-winner Donna Summer.  On Dec. 11, for the first time in its history, the Hard Rock headlined not one, but two Grammy Award-winning reggae artists.
Sean Paul and Shaggy became the first reggae artists to headline a major concert at the Hard Rock Live concert venue on the casino grounds.

The venue was filled to about half of its 5,500-seat capacity.

The concert opened with Mr. Boombastic himself, a.k.a Shaggy, singing almost all of his hits, including “Angel,” “Boombastic,” “Oh, Carolina” and “Hey, Sexy Lady.”

The crowd went ballistic. The women jumped out of their seats, and in minutes made their way as close to the stage as possible.

With his debonair style and sultry lyrical intonations, Shaggy had every woman in the building mesmerized.

Of course, Shaggy just wouldn’t be Shaggy if he didn’t give all the men in the building lessons on how to treat a lady. He challenged the men to add a little romance, sensuality and adventure to their love lives.

How ironic a lesson from the same guy who released the 2000 number one hit  record “It Wasn’t Me,” which contains lyrics that depict a man seeking advice from his friend on what to do after his girlfriend catches him cheating with another woman.  The friend’s whimsical advice?  Deny it all and just say, “It wasn't me.”

With a packed, ethnically diverse house of reggae lovers and wannabe dance-hall queens, the concert raised the excitement levels when Sean Paul prepared to take the stage.

After minimal stalling from local DJs and on-air radio personalities, Sean Paul blasted across the stage with his hit “We be Burning.”

Dressed in his usual semi-preppy yet new-age flair, Sean Paul made his way straight to center stage.
Everyone jumped out of their seats as I, too, inched my way closer and closer to the front of the stage.

Sean Paul has so many hits. He couldn't possibly have performed them all in an hour; though he did try.  It was great to hear the live version of “So Fine” from his latest album as well as “Temperature,” “Get Busy” and “Baby Boy,” the chart-topping duet with Beyonce (of course, she wasn't there).

Although dancing may not be his forte, Sean Paul did satisfy the crowd with three dancehall divas onstage strutting some of the latest Jamaican dance moves.  As I looked around, the whole place reminded me of one of those back-in-the-day Brooklyn basement parties.

Although both artists are extremely seasoned and remarkable performers, they truly saved the best for last. 
Longtime reggae enthusiast Sudi Freeman-Elliot, who attended the concert, couldn't agree more.

“Shaggy was good, but Sean Paul just had more up-to-date music, and the dancers were hot!  He made it look like a music video onstage,” Freeman-Elliot said. “He has a recent album out so we were all familiar with the songs.”

Earlier this year, Sean Paul released his latest album titled Imperial Blaze after a three-year hiatus, and he hasn't missed a beat.

It took a while for the crowd to disperse after the concert ended. But what can you say? Reggae music just has that lingering effect on people.

Photo by Sayre Berman. Sean Paul