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Alaine and Friends 'Walk on Air' for Charity

Alaine sings for charity at 'Walking on Air' concert

Kingston: It was her birthday and singer Alaine decided to have a bash, Walking on Air, with a few hundred of her closest friends. It’s not unusual for celebrities to ask their fans to pay to come and celebrate their birthdays with them as, and the popularity of these “birthday bashes”, suggest that fans are happy to comply. However, Alaine’s decision to donate the proceeds to charity (Mary’s Child and the music programme at the Allman Town Primary), adds a welcome twist.

Walking on Air, named after one of Alaine’s latest love ballads, took place at Redbones the Blues Café in Kingston on September 21, 2012. The courtyard at the popular Kingston restaurant was filled to capacity and then some.

Alaine and Taurus Riley perform 'Forever More'Though plagued by tiny technical hiccups, it was a good night overall. The concert was hosted by Denise Hunt. Hunt arrived late, but made up for it with her sparkly personality and equally sparkling dress, which often threatened to show more than she intended when she spun too fast.

Alaine came to the stage ready to get the party started, and after her opening song, was ready to kick her shoes off, literally.

“I’m about to get rid of these very uncomfortable shoes,” she said, taking the offending items off. Clearly the shoes, bearing professional grade heels, were not for the faint of heart. “Them fabulous, but them uncomfortable,” she said with a laugh. Her shoeless state would be the trend for the night, as when she returned after intermission, decked in another pair of fabulous heels, she quickly got rid of those too.  Her barefoot chic hints at her overall style, a sassy conservativeness.

The night was as much made by Alaine, as by her guest performers, who started arriving post intermission. Actor and comedian Christopher Daley was the first up. Daley presented a riotous few minutes poking fun at Jamaica, himself, the Olympics and Alaine. Like most of her guest performers he praised the charitable initiative. “When she call me, mi neva hesitate,” he said. “Mi beg ar a bus fare, Denise Hunt but mi neva hesitate.”

Voice Mail was up next. Despite the questionable nature of Kevin Blair’s hair (which was neither a Mohawk nor a fauxhawk and perhaps most aptly described by a patron as a no-hawk) the duo delivered a decent performance, after their first song. Their first piece attempted to be a love ballad which was problematized either by a technical glitch or the presence of a wayward frog in Craig Jackson’s throat. Suffice it to say, when they reverted to the signature dance tunes that have sustained their popularity, their delivery significantly improved.

And then there was Taurus Riley, whose presence threatened to steal the show. Riley started with a touch of ‘Lion Paw’ before jumping to ‘Never Leave I’, ‘Human Nature’, and ‘Dream Woman’. His performance should have culminated with the duet ‘Forever More’ with Alaine. But before departing, he presented her with his birthday present.

“Rasta no come empty handed,” he said with a laugh and with that he invited saxophonist Dean Fraser wowed Alaine and the audience with an excellent rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Christopher Daley brings a touch of comedyAlaine again returned to the spotlight, but that would not be the end of her guests. “Everybody run the crosses out of your life,” she called, jumping into ‘ByeByeBye’. Alaine then called to Daley, who had teased her about the song during his stand-up. His return resulted in a “re-mix” where Daley replaced “byebyebye” with the Jamaican variants ‘Galang’ and ‘gweh’.

After his departure, Alaine was leading the audience in the new version when a second unscripted cameo occurred. Taurus Riley snuck on to the stage, and with a gentle tap on Alaine’s shoulder, he swung into a piece of ‘Karma’.

Despite all the fun in the air, the show’s aim was never far away.

“We’re all here to make the world a better place. We’re all here to care for each other,” Alaine told the audience.  She also explained that from the first time ‘Walking on Air’ came pouring out of her heart, she knew she wanted to create a concert.

As the night inched toward a close, another technical glitch sprang up. Alaine’s keyboard made no sound. Undaunted and adamant that the problem be addressed, she kept the night alive by turning her SOS into a song and coaxing the audience, her back-up singers and her band to join her. “I really wanna sing this song, and I really wanna play along,” she sang.

“She can make a song out of anything,” one woman in the audience said.

And finally, the keyboard was fixed and the night was culminated with a rousing rendition of ‘No Ordinary Love’. And at the end of the night, you may not have walked on air, but it was certainly uplifting.