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On Tour with the Itals

On Tour with the Itals

On Tour with the Itals

By on - Photos by Greg Ward and Kristin Kolaczkowski - Comment

Musician Greg Ward was touring with the Itals in August.


My name is Greg Ward. I have been performing reggae music professionally since 1998, performing with many great artists and musicians. We as touring musicians experience so many interesting things on the road, we would love to share some of them with you. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog, documenting life on the road with a reggae musician. My first blog from the road will be with The Legendary Itals (R.I.P. Lloyd Rickkets and David Isaacs), as Keith Porter and Ronnie Davis tour New England showcasing classic hits such as Play your Part, Rastafari Chariot, and Dis Ya Time.

The Itals

Aug 11, 2011

Hi friends, Greg Ward here, professional guitarist, currently on tour with The Itals. The last tour, a few weeks ago, Lloyd Ricketts joined Keith Porter and Ronnie Davis, as the original Itals lineup, for the 1st time in the United States in over 25 years. This was a beautiful sight to behold. People in audience were overjoyed at this reunion. Lloyd expressed to me how much he loved the vibes and wanted to tour for years to come. Lloyd passed on to be with our ancestors, a few days later, while in Jamaica getting ready for the next tour. It was a honor and a blessing to be a part of these last two performances by Lloyd Ricketts, Ronnie Davis, and Keith Porter, the original lineup of the Itals. Nonetheless, as Lloyd would have wished, the Itals movement continues. Here are some notes from last week's tour that just finished up.

Aug 11, 2011 - Washington DC

The band and myself met up with Ronnie and Keith at 9pm in Washington DC at One World Rehearsal Studio. We hailed up the owner, Kofi and then made our departure for our first show in Rockland ME. Everyone was excited to see one another. We briefly remarked at the mystical ways of JAH's Creation, how amazing it was to have Lloyd a part of the vibration again, and then so quickly be humbled by the swiftness of how things can change. Everyone was in high spirits still and I could tell there was an even more renewed appreciation of the day. We got in the van and made our way towards Rockland ME.

Aug 12, 2011 - Strand Theatre, Rockland ME

Ronnir Davis / The ItalsWe arrived at 11am, 14 or so hours later in Rockland ME at our hotel. The accomodations provided by the venue was not too bad. Good, considering that there was a large boat show happening in town and we were told there may be no rooms available. Luckily we got some, and continued to rest for a few hours before sound check. I couldn't sleep very well, so I called down to club to make sure everything was as it should be, which it was. 3:30pm we head down to club for soundcheck which went fine, then everyone came back to the hotel to get their respective dinners.

8:30pm showtime... We arrive at the theatre to behold a full house of anticipating Itals fans. After 10-15 minutes of chill time, the band hit the stage and performed 2 instrumentals (Ram Jam and Satta Massa Gana). The crowd responded well, so I asked them if they were ready for the Legendary Itals from Westmoreland Jamaica. Frenzy ensued and I proceeded to bring out Ronnie Davis and Keith Porter. The band ran through the intro medley, playing excerpts from Give Me Power (tribute to Lloyd Ricketts), Dis Ya Time, Play your Part, and JAH Glory right into the first tune, Smile Natty Smile. The two reggae/Rasta elders appeared on stage and did not stop the high energy until the last song. Playing hits like Call Dread Name, Rastafari Chariot, Peace and Love, Rasta Philosophy, Dis Ya Time, the crowd was loving every moment. The audience members commented afterwards that two sounded like angels. It's true, these guys are some of the creators of reggae music, and are one of the last remaining groups that continue to represent harmony reggae vocal groups. We said our goodbyes to the audience after Keith and Ronnie, met fans, took pictures, and signed autographs. Tomorrow, Newport Reggae Fest with The Itals, Yellowman, Skatalites, and Bushman. It's going to be nice to see Roops, the bassist we toured with in June. He is playing bass with Bushman for the week. JAH guide.

Aug 13 - Newport Reggae Fest, Commercial Wharf, Newport RI

We left Rockland ME at 4am to begin our journey to Newport RI. 10am we arrived in Newsport, RI. The vibes were high. Some local band were entertaining across the street, people were walking everywhere. Newport, RI is very popular during the summertime. People were beginning to gather in large numbers for the reggae fest. The Itals were going to be the first group to perform. I was glad to see all of the fans in the crowd singing along. Last time we were in Newport, Bill Murray came out to the show. The band was tight, and Ronnie and Keith kept the crowd going with hit after hit. After the performance, we mingled for a little while and then took off for Putney VT where we rested for the night and next day. Big up Charlotte for being one of the best hostesses ever!

Aug 14 - Northampton, MA

Today we only had to drive 1 hour to get from VT to Northampton. We left in the evening and arrrived at 6pm for soundcheck. Interestingly, there were a lot of more 35 and over crowd at this show them most. It was a nice sight, so many original fans coming out to see the group.  Show began at  8:30pm. Keith and Ronnie were having a lot of fun on stage I could tell, going back and forth singing old Jamaican hits over top of the riddims we were providing. Finished the show at 10:30pm and began the journey home towards Washington DC.

Aug 15 - North Garden, VA

Returned home for the week. Next weekend The Itals will be at the Hoxley Fest in Wellston MI- Sat and the Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH- Sun.

The Itals

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