"IN PHASE" at
As Boogsie spoke, the mood of some was sombre as their leader reminded them that the championship title was theirs for the taking, but also for the losing.
They had come so close, as many of them remembered, in 2003, when victory had seemed to be theirs, but instead they had to settle for third place. "Music In We Blood" penned by the illustrious Boogsie that year in tribute to his mother who had recently passed away, was the musical choice of many bands that year for the panorama selection. In fact it turned out to be the "most played" piece of music when the panorama selections of bands in Trinidad and Tobago, New York and London competitions were tallied.
Various reasons circulated as to why, after a lead in the semi-final leg, followed up by what was in the eyes and opinion of many, a truly awesome performance on stage on Panorama finals night, Phase II had not come away with the trophy and first place money prize. Some said they were penalized for having taken too long to be set up and ready to play because of the difficulty in getting supporters to leave the stage. Others claimed that the band paid for having gone over the ten-minute competition playing time by a few seconds. And then there were others who whispered about the saucy "Flag woman" who displayed much of her obvious attributes on stage. They believed that the judges were "traditional" and the Flag woman's flaunting might have been too much for some of them to stomach. Regardless of the reasons, 2003 was not their year, even though few disputed the pure musical genius and perhaps "perfect" execution of what had was widely accepted to be a "winning" performance."
Hours later as the lights went up and illuminated the steel orchestra,
silence as they waited on the count to begin. Playing in last position,
number eight, behind their seven co-competitors was a position of
strength, but which Boogsie had only a few hours before, reminded them not to take for granted.
Steelpan players were dressed in red, black and white matching
outfits, the colors of the Trinidad and Tobago flag, for their
presentation and performance of
"Trini Gone Wild" also written by Boogsie, with vocals by Colin
Lucas. The rumble of their seven and
nine-basses, the piercing but complimenting set of all their mid-range
pan instruments, and blaring front line pans responded perfectly to
Boogie's orchestration in front of the band, with Ray Holman in the
The bands' supporters were dancing jubilantly on the eastern and western ends of the stage, along with those who overflowed onto the area immediately in front of the North Stand. Pure "pan ecstasy" was reflected in every move, in a musical oblivion and with an abandonment that was mirrored in a more controlled manner by the pan players on stage.
When it was over,
many in the general audience in both the North and
Grand stands joined in the screams of joy as the supporters "whooped"
their way back on stage both to congratulate the band, and to get the
instruments and stands off stage. The feelings were intense as players
openly displayed a gamut of emotions as they moved off with their pans. Some were defiant in their jubilation, others simply said "they had done
their best." Others said that there was no way the judges could find
fault with them this time and snatch their championship win away from
them. Still others noted (obviously with memories of the 2003 loss
uppermost on their minds - after they had experienced the same musical
high both from their stage performance, and the expectancy that they had
won then) that they were prepared for whatever the result would be. What
was common though, were the extremely tight, almost desperate but
defiant hugs that
the musicians gave each other, a bonding that was also a bracing for
whatever the outcome would be.
Boogsie eventually made his
appearance, he was both surrounded by his close members of his
management team, and also supported by them, as he appeared overcome.
Those on stage alternately begged and screamed at photographers and
supporters to "give Boogsie some air to breathe, otherwise he would
collapse." These were real fears as the veteran arranger had
collapsed on stage at the semi-finals immediately after the band
completed its performance. Needless to say, scant attention was
paid to those pleas as people had to be forcibly held back. The
presentation was eventually completed, with throngs of people
surrounding the victors.
Then it was time for the
individual "Phase II heads" as they surged forward to touch their master,
and to take photos to commemorate this historic, but momentous and
emotional time in the band's history. At last, the huge steel orchestra
was justifiably "IN PHASE." Phase II had "gotten its Groove back."
C. Phillips, Basement
Related links and stories
Let us hear your views
Advertisement Pan In New York 2004
Pan In New York 2004