Trinidad and Tobago
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King David – on a last note

Letters to the Editor
Newsday David Rudder - Jeff K Mayers
David Rudder - Jeff K Mayers

THE EDITOR: I missed David Rudder’s last hurrah performance in Trinidad earlier this year. I was in Florida, "grinein’," as we say. So, imagine my elation when I discovered that he was performing at the "Back in Times" event on the Saturday of Orlando Carnival 2023 – a stone’s throw away.

Tickets were sold out (so the website advised). I decided I was going anyway. On the tip of a friend, by some magic I acquired three free tickets online. I need not have bothered as the organisation of the event left a lot to be desired.

After more than five, not so much rum, but roti-less months, I was in a pitch of excitement to be in a somewhat Trini environment and actually getting to see Rudder one last time. After some hours of semi-torturous stage hyping, except for the still excellent Roger George and Niki Crosby in her Granny persona, the master made his way gingerly on stage.

He was amazing. Where his body might be failing him, his vocal delivery was flawless. His recall of those unmatched lyrics, the melody and how he still managed to stretch those Rudder-esque notes did not disappointment.

Despite the back-a-yard feeling of the venue and probably the smallest crowd he ever played to, buckets of love flowed up to that stage. He never short-changed, allowing the fans to mimic the words but never giving over for any length of time. We were up close and personal and I was transported to an unforgettable era in my life. How lucky we were.

When the performance ended and he had slowly left the stage, there seemed to be some confusion about him coming back on to receive a gift. It appeared the gift could not be found. I’m not sure. Embarrassing, nevertheless.

A lot of people dispersed, some lingered at the side in the hope of getting a picture, some kept waiting for more. I found myself riveted to the spot, not ten feet away, gazing at this phenomenon of an artist as he stood in limbo and obvious discomfort halfway up the steps grasping the handrail; looking unsure as to what he was expected to do.

At this very moment his eyes caught mine. I stretched out both arms and slowly bowed to the king. For a fleeting second, his furrowed face relaxed and he smiled at me and nodded. I knew this was better than any autograph I could ever have gotten. How lucky indeed.

Love always to King David Michael Rudder.


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