Judge Ryan Keefer is the king of dub.
The greatest one night reggae show on earth.
Honestly, this is the first time in a long time that I've leapt into a disc for you fine Verdict folk without any sort of preconceived notions. When I asked to take a look at this disc (which is actually two), I thought I'd be looking at the work of the Police frontman, or even a compilation set featuring the pro wrestler who looked like the Crow. What I got was two discs full of reggae music (well, one really loaded disc of performances), some of which was good, but to me reggae music is like some other hobby or proclivity you might have; you'll enjoy it for a few minutes, but unless you're last name ends with Marley or Tosh, or you're a rastafari, the saturation point as an interested party happens rather quickly. And when you have a few hundred reggae devotees in one space, all enjoying a veritable jah-lapalooza for several hours, things might tend to get dicey. I've been around some rasta, and they can be fairly hardcore after the weed wears off.
Don't believe me? Well, let me throw some random pearls of wisdom at you from an article on the concert itself: "In the 20-year history of 'the greatest one night reggae show on earth', the most bottles, clashes and gunshots 'rained' at Sting 2003." Altamont it ain't. And amongst the performers at the show were Beenie Man, Sanchez, Queen Paula, Assassin, Elephant Man and Ninjaman, all of whom represent the East Coast/West Coast, if you will, of Jamaican reggae. Many of the artists mentioned apparently get into lyrical battles within the same space, some of which I picked up on a little due to the vibe of the crowd, but most of which went over my head. I'm just a goofy white guy who doesn't know any better, see?
As far as the music goes, we've certainly come a long way from "Lively Up Yourself" and "Jah Live," that's for sure. With songs like "Don't Put a Foot Inna Mi Yard" (from Kiprich) and "We a Bad Form," you get the feeling that, instead of struggling and making it through music like their forefathers did, the current crop of reggae musicians are a little more thug lift and aggressive. Don't get me wrong, I understand their need to be, but Uncle Bob should still be on their radar and damn near taught in schools on a daily basis, rather than getting into physical brawls and disturbances, which also occurred at the concert.
In terms of technical qualities, this is a multi-camera shoot, which is kind of a surprise, but it's presented in full frame, and the lighting and figures are so hot and blown out that I get the impression that this thing has probably aired on Jamaican television a few hundred times before coming to video. There are two soundtracks on the disc, and in listening to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, I wasn't expecting any real surprises. Low end fidelity is pretty minimal, directional effects and speaker panning are also nonexistent, and I hardly felt the immersive environment that a concert would normally possess. Still, you get what you pay for, I guess.
So, should you, the DVD buyer, invest in the 2003 video incarnation of Magnum Sting? Depends on how much you like reggae. Or weed. Or both. I like reggae a little, and I like weed a lot, but I didn't particularly like this set, two discs irregardless. Take a puff, puff, pass on it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
• Behind the Scenes
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