The excitement was high as reggae lovers poured by the masses into the close-knit atmosphere of Solana Beach's Belly Up Tavern in San Diego, California the night of December 21st. The holidays were upon everyone and what better way to celebrate than with two of the topmost names in the reggae-rock industry, pulling it back acoustic style.
The Queen of Reggae, Miss HIRIE herself, stripped it down in an intimate acoustic set with her on guitar and Chris Hampton playing sax, opening with “Boom Fire” followed by “20 After 4”. In keeping with the stripped-down feeling, HIRIE shared that this was her first time playing in San Diego without her signature 6-inch heels. HIRIE informed the crowd that they are mixing a new album and played “She Goes” as a teaser. She also shared with the fans that she wanted to write a song to glorify all the things we go through in life and turn it into a party anthem, because “It’s the story of our lives”. She then launched into the song “I Messed Up”, with fans screaming “we love you”!!
A true highlight of the evening was to see HIRIE and Eric perform the song “Sun and Shine” together.
As someone who has battled similar issues, I appreciate the truth and conviction when HIRIE shared that at age 16, she was on a cocktail of medications to deal with anxiety and depression, feeling suicidal. She wished she had one friend telling her this is normal life stuff. But, with Cocoa her dog (who just passed away), she made it through. She continued her set with the song “You Won’t Be Alone.”
“Society does not protect us or nurture us,” HIRIE remarked. “Off the stage, we are no longer artists – we are your friends. Never feel alone.” With a surprise mashup during the song “Lost And Found”, she incorporated the TLC song “No Scrubs” and the Mary J. Blige song “Family Affair”. The crowd was amped and singing along. She rounded out her set with “Sensi Boy” and “Mele Kalikimaka”, before taking the time to visit with her fans.
Playing to a sold-out crowd, Eric Rachmany took to the stage with Kyle Ahem to play an amazing catalog of songs, opening with “Fade Away” and “City Life”. After playing “Outta Control”, Eric shared with screaming fans that they we going to play songs that Rebelution doesn’t normally play and launched into “Honey Pot”. Fans could be heard saying, “Man, it feels like we are back in Santa Barbara!”
Playing an approximate 19-song set, including “Notice Me”, “Counterfeit Lover” and “Good Vibes”, Eric kept the crowd going when the Rebelution horn section of Eric Hirschhorn and Zach Meyerowitz took to the stage to play “Lay My Claim”. Two amazing covers were played, Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” and Aaliyah’s song “Are You That Somebody”. Eric also played the song “Rainy Day In Autumn” from his side project, Unified Highway. A true highlight of the evening was to see HIRIE and Eric perform the song “Sun and Shine” together.
If you were unable to catch the dynamic duo of HIRIE and Eric together this winter, be sure to catch them on their upcoming 2019 tours!