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Pablo Moses in Paris (2017)

Pablo Moses in Paris (2017)

Pablo Moses in Paris (2017)

By on - Photos by Gerard McMahon - Comment

The Moses’ show is a tour-de-force that should not be missed.


There are not many people who can truly claim to be living legends. However, Pablo Moses is one such person. Having emerged from the 1970s golden age of reggae, it is our good fortune that he continues to survive and thrive. Long may it be so.

Having identified Moses’ concert as the highlight of Rototom Sunsplash 2016, United Reggae seized the opportunity to catch him and his Handcart support band again in Sannois, Paris, toward the end of his recent extensive tour of France. This was a good move, as the Moses’ show is a tour-de-force that should not be missed. However, if you did miss it, the good news is that Pablo promises to take to the road again early in the New Year.

Pablo Moses in Paris-1

The gig itself runs for an action-packed one and a half hours. In Paris, this was followed by a one hour media briefing, serving to reflect the man’s attitude and ability – and a personal discipline on tour that is standing him in very good stead.

Show time was allocated to a varied set comprised of 18 Moses’ classics. These spanned the old, the new and some from the middle of his 42 year musical career. They included those tracks which will surely outlive him, such as Music Is My Desire, Give I Fi I Name, (the wonderful) Dubbing Is A Must, Revolutionary Dream, A Song, Pave The Way, I Am A Rastaman and a stirring encore of Mama Yeah and Ready Aim Fire (which he dedicated to Africa).

He also seized the opportunity to showcase 3 well-received tracks from his new The Itinuation album – In This Jungle, Mercy and the heartfelt I Love You (which he subsequently revealed to United Reggae was devoted to his partner Patricia). Notably, there were no complaints about the decision to exclude what is arguably his most renowned I Man A Grasshopper song!

Pablo Moses in Paris-2From the set’s opening – that ably contrasted a Nyahbinghi-style drum beat with synthesiser steeped spaceship sounds – to the Ready, Aim, Fire closing, Moses presence and performance leave nothing to be desired. He is a truly professional performer.

To maximum effect, his stage presence has been finely tuned over the years. Throughout the performance he remains mobile and totally engaged, interspersing his delivery with an array of grimaces and grunts and synchronised jousts with the band’s guitarists. He is also generous enough to extend the limelight to each of his musicians at various points in the proceedings – most notably to guitarist Titi on Pablo’s immortal Revolutionary Dream.

Such is the man’s presence and confidence on stage that he was also able to commandeer almost a minute’s silence mid-show, as an entrée to A Song. This is not easily done in the frenzy of a Friday night blast, when the audience has already been catapulted to a series of musical climaxes. The show is also well interspersed with a variety of audience interaction techniques, including front row fist-to-fist touches and invitations to help out on the vocals of Dubbing Is A Must and Revolutionary Dream.

Moses also gracefully (and appropriately) acknowledges the great support that France has been throughout his long and successful career, with plenty of 'Merci Beaucoup' and exhortations that ‘Paris’ should ‘show me your power’ thrown in for good measure.

Pablo was ably aided on stage by the Handcart band – whose burgeoning reputation is well deserved. Rooted in Marseilles, France, the six-member group is comprised of Al, Seb and Titi, who wield their guitars to machine gun effect, with Denis and Stefan producing a wide variety of sounds from their versatile synthesisers, as Max drives the show with quick-fire spellbinding rhythms from his drum kit.

Pablo Moses in Paris-3

The Handcart reggae backing band has now accumulated a formidable track record, having released two well received albums and worked to good effect with many of the genre’s stellar cast, including Morgan Heritage, the Mighty Diamonds, Linval Thompson, Sizzla, Denis Alcapone, Harrison Stafford, Sugar Minott and the Abyssinians. Notably, the band devoted almost three hours to the pre-gig  sound check – – where they unleashed a fantastic take on the Moses’ classic Ready, Aim, Fire - before being dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to the dining room.

Finally, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the wonderful work of the staff at the Espace Michel Berger venue in Sannois, Paris. They were not alone most welcoming to United Reggae, but also – to the musicians’ delight - did a superb job via the sound and lighting facilities. When these Parisienne professionals linked with Pablo Moses and his Handcart it was a sight and sound to behold.

Long live Pablo Moses. Treat yourself – go catch him on tour in early 2018.

Pablo Moses in Paris-4

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