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Live review: MORGAN HERITAGE & MARCIA GRIFFITHS in Bristol

The BERES HAMMONDMORGAN HERITAGE and MARCIA GRIFFITHS tour was billed as a one-off opportunity for UK fans, but the words “too good to be true” turned out to be the case on the eve of the tour.

It would have been the first time all three acts toured the UK together, however due to “unseen circumstances” the king of lovers rock wasn’t able to join his royal counterparts for any of the dates.

It turned out that HAMMOND backed out of the tour after his drummer was refused entry into the country, and as such the singer, band and crew made their way back to Jamaica.

Despite this major setback the five-date tour kicked off on 17 July in London and it didn’t take long for disgruntled fans to take to Twitter in their droves to complain about the eleventh hour BERES HAMMOND cancellation.

At this point most support acts would have thrown in the towel, but luckily these support acts were headliners in their own right, and the tour pressed ahead to Bristol, Birmingham, Huddersfield and then back to London again.

Full refunds were on offer for fans who chose not to attend the concerts, but for those who did, were treated to longer sets from the remaining two-thirds of the bill.

Bristol reggae fans seemed to have gone for the latter option, and while the venue was not at maximum capacity on 18 July it did allow for a little more dancing and breathing room, plus the opportunity to get up close.

As a token replacement for BERES HAMMOND not being there rising star JEMERE MORGAN, representing a new generation of the MORGAN family, stepped up to the plate.

JEMERE is the son of ROY "GRAMPS" MORGAN and since his debut single, “First Kiss” in August 2011, has been forging a successful career in music.

And judging by his soulful performance in Bristol, you can see why.

Next up was queen of reggae MARCIA GRIFFITHS bringing big songs to the evening such as DESMOND DEKKER’s “Israelites” and “My Boy Lollipop” by MILLIE SMALL.

To add to the reggae dynasties idea, GRIFFITHS brought forward her son (and backing singer) for a touching duet on “Just You And Me” from her Marcia Griffiths & Friends album.

Backed by THE HERITAGE BAND, her lively performance was rounded off with NINA SIMONE’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” with which she had a big hit in 1970 as BOB AND MARCIA; “54-46 (That's My Number)” by TOOTS & THE MAYTALS; and then “Could You Be Loved” by BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS.

Between the two main acts the DJ played a BERES HAMMOND medley - which normally would be very welcome - but only rubbed in the fact that we weren’t about to see him perform.

But when MORGAN HERITAGE opened with 2012 hit “The Return”, any thoughts of absent performers had gone and we knew we were in for an extended, explosive set from the St. Thomas group.

Hot on the heels of a big European tour the band promoted a lot of material from new record Here Come The Kings, their first album in five years, which is out now on VP Records.

The group aired new tracks such as “Looking For The Roots”, “Stand Up” and “Girl Is Mine”, putting an interesting reggae twist on the MICHAEL JACKSON classic.

But it was better known tracks like “By The River” which brought the real party vibes and big sing-along choruses. 

MORGAN HERITAGE have long established themselves as one of the premier groups on the live circuit, and by rescuing this tour from the ashes of a BERES cancellation reaffirmed their great standing in the reggae community.

Here are some fan-filmed video clips from the night...

JEMERE MORGAN:

MARCIA GRIFFITHS:

MORGAN HERITAGE:

Artists:-