“This is the hottest borough in the five boroughs,” Borough President Eric Adams said. “The other boroughs got to keep up with us.”
Adams may have been right, because the blazing summer heat could not keep the crowds away as the courtyard outside of Borough Hall filled around noon with fans chanting for the hit reggae artist to take the stage.
The Grammy award winner was brought to Brooklyn for a free concert series through Music Brings Life, a non-profit organization that educates African-American, Latino and Caribbean youth about the benefits of blood donation.
“We strive to get them to understand the importance of donating blood by having blood awareness concerts,” president and founder of Music Brings Life Keenan “Special” Bristol said.
While a number of artists took the stage at the bottom of Borough Hall’s marble steps, the American Red Cross was conducting a blood drive in the front of the building, allowing concert-goers to easily shift from one event to the other.
But the hot ticket for the afternoon was clearly headliner Shaggy, whose fans dutifully waited in the hot sun for the Jamaican-American performer as other artists — singers Ruby Collins, Young Devyn and Star Laurel and violinist Phearnone — did their best to appease the anxious crowd.
Soon enough, the crowd could not be contained any longer, and “Shag-gy” chants filled the air.
When he finally took the stage, amid screams and applause, Shaggy delivered a brief but satisfying performance, including all of his biggest hits: “Bombastic,” “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.”
“You know what you do when you get caught?” he asked before launching into his anthem for discovered cheaters, “It Wasn’t Me.”
“You pull a Bill Clinton,” and sporting his best Clinton voice, he said, “’I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’”
The concert was the first of three in the joint summer music series and blood drives. The others will take place on July 16 and Aug. 13. Brooklyn’s own Ricky Blaze will be the headline performer at the July 16th blood drive.
A reported 23 pints of blood were collected at the first in the series. All of the donors will receive a free ticket to the 2014 5Alarm Blaze Music Brings Life Blood Awareness Concert on Aug. 31 at Stage 48 in Manhattan, which the organization promises will “feature the hottest Caribbean artists of the year.”