Review: Maxi Priest Pulsates People’s Theatre


“Every time we come to Hawaii, it feels like home,” shouted Maxi Priest to the packed house at Honokaa People’s Theatre. The British reggae superstar had just wrapped up a week-long run at Honolulu’s Blue Note club, and first-ever performances in China before heading to the Big Island. Fans made him feel at home and danced non-stop throughout his two-hour Father’s Day Dance Party Concert.

Born Max Elliott, the 57-year-old performer of Jamaican descent has enjoyed thirty years as an international star. Priest started with his 1987 reggae cover of the Cat Stevens classic “Wild World.” He recently told Big Island Music that he just finished an album with classic rock guitarist Robin Trower (Read the interview here.)

Tonight’s show began with a sixty-minute set from Big Island’s DJ Uplifter. With roots based in New Orleans, and now living in Pahoa, Uplifter definitely gave the crowd a bass-drenched reggae music experience. Since it was an all-ages concert, fans from six to sixty quickly filled up the theatre’s dancefloor.

Fans danced on stage with Maxi Priest

Dressed in a red floppy Kongul hat, white shirt, and sunglasses, his long dreadlocks touched the bottom of his cropped jeans. Priest paced back and forth on the stage liked a caged tiger keeping both his and the crowd’s energy at a solid 10. Occasionally he’d invite a few ladies from the audience on stage to dance, and one lucky young boy got to do a call-and-response with the concertgoers.

Priest’s set was filled with his familiar Reggae-fused renditions of pop songs like “Wild World,” and Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love.” There were also some brief snippets of familiar tunes like, “Another One Bites The Dust” and “My Girl, as well Bob Marley’s classic “Redemption Song.” The crowd joined in on most of these.

New Kidz

About half-way through the set, Priest brought out singer New Kidz to accompany him for the rest of the show. Kidz (Anthony Bennett) was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and appears with Priest on the new single “Super Wonder Woman,” released earlier this year.

Priest’s tight back-up band is filled with talented performers like guitarist JJ Sansaverino. He plays a mean solo behind his back reminiscent of T-Bone Walker or Jimi Hendrix. ​Drummer Paul “GrooveGalore” KasticK has toured with some of the top names in the business and recorded numerous chart-topping albums. Othniel “Taddy P” Campbell laid down rock-solid bass grooves all night. His infectious smile kept several ladies’ cell phones glued on him. Richard “Goofy” Campbell fills out on keys, and is featured on Priest’s 2014 album Easy To Love.

Before ending the show, Priest acknowledged Big Island victims of the current lava eruptions. “We truly want to send our prayers to all of the folks who lost their properties and homes”, said Priest, “because that’s how powerful prayer is… that is the power of God. May God bless you!”

Maxi Priest’s 2018 Tour brings him to the mainland through August, and then heads to Colombo, Sri Lanka, for a show at the Havelock Sports Club Ground.

Set List
Caution | Just a Little Bit Longer | Wild World | I Believe in Love | Crazy Love | One More Chance | Never Met A Woman Like You | Easy to Love | Close to You | Here We Go | Medley: Another One Bites the Dust/ My Girl | Redemption Song

Say A Prayer for The World

Be sure to visit the official Maxi Priest website for the latest tour and music info:



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