This past wintery Sunday night had the Grog Shop toasty with summer Reggae by early 2000’s favorite, Shaggy. Case Western Reserve University students and fellow Clevelanders waved their hands in the air, like they didn’t care, as they sang with Shaggy to popular tunes, such as “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel.”
Before Shaggy took the stage the entire audience was chanting his name. A large banner stating “Di Real Shaggy” shined on stage as the real Shaggy entered along with his full band and backup singers.
Despite often showcasing Cleveland punk, reggae was a nice and lighter change for the Grog Shop. The venue was filled with good vibes and everyone was smiling, more so than I have ever seen at the venue.
Shaggy and his co-performers did an excellent job at rallying the crowd throughout the show; I remembered singing these very songs as I watched them on Total Request Live well over 10 years ago.
Orville Richard Burrell (aka Shaggy) was born in Kingston, Jamaica where he grew up before moving to Brooklyn, New York, at 18 years old. He took singing classes in New York before joining the Marines, where he would serve for several years until he decided to pursue his love for music.
His songs, “Boombastic” in 1995 and “That Girl” in 1996 were huge hits that led up to his album in 2000, “Hot Shot,” which was certified 6x Platinum and contained most of his well-known hits.
Since 2000, Shaggy has produced a wealth of albums and has collaborated with several artists including Sean Paul and Neyo.
Shaggy was half singer, half storyteller and interacted with the audience throughout the performance. He asked the audience if they “enjoy pretending to be Jamaican?” and also explained before his song “It Wasn’t Me” that women never get caught cheating because they are “smarter than men.”
Then a very good Bill Clinton impersonation followed.
To my surprise, Shaggy does not often perform in the United States. He explained that he often performs in Jamaica, Europe and Australia where is he more popular. Many fans had traveled great distances to see him perform at the Grog Shop, including from Toledo and Massachusetts.
Classic reggae songs were on the setlist, in addition to all of Shaggy’s hits. After taking several photos with the audience, Shaggy ended the show quite abruptly. Most of the audience, including myself, stood around for at least 10 minutes in confusion as to whether Shaggy was returning to the stage. It was bit of a letdown due to the lack of a rising and energy filled finale.
Despite the smooth, chill headliner, the journey to Shaggy was a rough one. The Grog Shop was not ready to open doors at 8:00 p.m., which led to several patrons standing outside in the snow. The 9:00 p.m. show started with a DJ in the back who repeated the words “beautiful ladies” at a nauseating level until the opener finally took the stage at 9:30 p.m.
TUT was an odd opener. The group was comprised of TUT (lead vocal) and a violinist. The violinist was excellent and Tut offered decent reggae but he had an incredibly hoarse voice and he sounded like he was straining to sing the whole set. I simply could not get into his performance.
Some audience members sang along with TUT and knew his songs. However, many reggae fans talked through most of his set.
Shaggy did not take the stage until 10:00 p.m. and I had felt like I was out of energy for a Sunday night, but, regardless, found myself dancing in no time.
Concert: Shaggy, TUT
Venue: The Grog Shop, 2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd.
Headliner Rating: Shaggy, ★★★★★
Opener Rating: TUT, ★