Review: One Love Bahamas Benefit Concert at Pompano Beach Amphitheater

Celebrated rockers and reggae superstars came together and performed during a special night at One Love Bahamas, a concert for Hurricane Dorian Relief, a benefit event that took place at Pompano Beach Amphitheater on Saturday night, February 8.

Lita Ford – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

Performing after a disaster like Hurricane Dorian, which ravaged the ecological oasis that lies just a mere 90 miles off the Florida coast, moved several prominent musicians to lend their talents for a cause far greater than music. As bands set up, the concert audience saw and heard about the devastation. The hurricane had demolished several inhabited islands, leaving thousands of people homeless and without basic needs in what has been described as the greatest natural disaster the Bahamas has ever experienced.

As the video played, it was clear why the people came out to support the cause. The heartbreaking images put everything in perspective and reminded those who were there that even the greatest technology and building materials remain no match for Mother Nature. The images showed impressive waterfront concrete block homes reduced to rubble, clearly showing the shear power that was Hurricane Dorian. The concert offered the opportunity for people of all religions, races and colors to come together and share a common ground of music and compassion, raising funds for those who have lost everything.

Freddie McGregor – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

The well organized tropical-themed concert included two stages and a distinguished list of bands from nearly every musical genre. Because of the extensive list of artists scheduled to perform that night, each band was limited to performing just four songs. Most artists played a selection of their biggest hits, and although the audience would have preferred full sets, they seemed satisfied with the selections. This benefit concert wasn’t just something that was thrown together at the last minute. It was clear upon entering the grounds the tremendous effort the City of Pompano Beach, Shipwreck Park, and concert promoters made, working tirelessly to put on the show.

Bryan Bassett of Foghat – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

The festival featured a well-recognized list of performers from the rock, reggae, pop, and EDM genres that kept the audience dancing in their seats and along the isles of the amphitheater.  Based upon the audience, it was clear that the majority of those who attended this concert came to see the rock bands that included Lita Ford, Foghat, Jack Russell’s Great White, Zebra, The Sweet, and Yngwie Malmsteen.  For those who wanted to get their island irie vibes, the crowd was treated to performances by Jamaican reggae sensation Freddie McGregor, Third World, Jeffrey James and Baha Men.

Tommy Braga and John Aubrey of Jaded – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

Longtime rocker Yngwie Malmsteen, who is widely considered the number one guitar virtuoso in the world, delivered an exceptional performance that showcased his mastery of the guitar. The often controversial rocker continues to show why he’s still considered one of the very best. Former Runaways lead singer and guitarist Lita Ford didn’t disappoint; she delivered a high-energy four-song set that got the crowd on their feet rocking to her biggest hits that included “Gotta Let Go,” “Cherry Bomb,” “Close My Eyes Forever,” and “Kiss Me Deadly.” Ford still looks as incredible as she sounds; it was great to see that Ford will continue rock out audiences in the foreseeable future. Jack Russell, the ’80s  rock icon who was once on top of the rock world, played a satisfactory set as he and his band, Jack Russell’s Great White, rocked to “Desert Moon,” “Lady Red Light,” and “All Over Now” and closed out his set with the band’s highest charting hit, “Once Bitten Twice Shy.”

On the reggae side, The Baha Men helped us finally answer the age-old question to their most recognized song “Who Let the Dogs Out.” Dyson Knight, Marvin Prosper and the rest of the nine-member band didn’t miss a beat as they danced around the stage and captivated the audience with one of the better performances of the night. If you haven’t see the Baha Men, you should.

Bryson Knight of Baha Men – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

There was a select group of local bands that were invited to perform on the small stage along the festival grounds. South Florida up-and-coming local rockers Mason Pace Band played a solid set of cover songs before a dedicated group of fans. Mason Pace is the new face of rock in South Florida and appears to be garnering attention and attracting new fans.

One Love Bahamas was the brainchild of longtime concert promoter and executive producer Roy Anthony. Together with his team, Anthony organized the event and called upon his close musician friends and relationships who were all on-board to perform for this worthy cause.

After Lita Ford wrapped up her hard-rocking set, the majority of those who attended finished up their beers, took the last bites of food and left the amphitheater. Perhaps they should have hung on a bit longer as up-and-coming EDM artist AeroTek entertained the crowd with a great mix and an extended set that included a group of dancers who were in sync to AeroTek’s every beat. It was after midnight when Jamaican reggae fusion band Third World took the stage and brought the weary crowd back to life. The soothing sounds of reggae filled the air as the remaining crowd settled in for the last two acts of the night. Third World put on an extended show that kept the audience engaged and jammin’. As things heated up on stage, they were joined by legendary reggae superstar Freddie McGregor. Third World and McGregor jammed to a nearly empty amphitheater; regardless, they didn’t seem to mind and continued in the merrymaking burning through a mix of songs until they closed the set minutes before 3 a.m.

In the end, One Love Bahamas was a concert by an incredible ensemble of the very best musicians who came together to celebrate life and raise money for needed resources for the devastated island with a concert that proved to be much more. It was a place to gather with family and friends, to extend your hand to a stranger and forge new friendships. Those who experienced One Love Bahamas will remember it as an intimate gathering of music lovers who wanted to support a cause that only a few months ago could have landed stateside instead of the Bahamas.

Tommy Braga of Jaded – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN
Rodney O’quinn and Charlie Huhn of Foghat – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN
Jeffrey James – Photo: Rick Munroe MFN

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