The fireworks came at exactly the right moment.
Kes The Band’s ‘Where Yuh From‘ was blasting, an appropriately pan-Caribbean anthem for the mix of sophisticated, soca-loving, UWI-connected islandistas and island men who always patronise Bliss.
And just as every man and woman jubilantly raised their hands to “show meh where yuh from”, the fireworks exploded across the sky. It was a surprise element, usually associated with the Old Year’s Night edition of Bliss but it exemplified how determined Esquire Entertainment was to reclaim the crown that had slipped badly last summer. And yet this wasn’t the highlight.
Not only were none of the issues which plagued Bliss last year (and which we sadly outlined in our review then) in evidence this year but they took everything to a higher level. The food service was more varied than ever before, with two Caribbean and two Asian food stations along with Texan,Thai, Italian, taco, sushi and dessert stations.
The food at every one was excellent and more importantly premium. There were no half measures of cheap pasta and sauce masquerading as top notch fare. It was delicious, beautifully presented and food you wouldn’t get just anywhere.
Better yet, there were no long lines – the food service area was huge, spread out over an area nearly as big as the main party area, with more than enough space for everyone to get served, wander around and not endure any back ups. And yet this wasn’t the highlight either.
The bar service was as fantastic as ever with a dedicated wine bar, Johnnie Walker bar and cocktail bar in addition to at least 3 other bars that I can recall. And yet this wasn’t the highlight either.
The DJs were all great. Regulars Mayhem Soundz built the early vibes while youngin DJ Puffy sent the tempo higher at his Bliss debut with some soca tunes way older than he is and Jamaican DJs Billy and Poovie closed out with flair. At the peak, Trinidad’s Private Ryan cleverly paid tribute with a session of soca tunes from what is arguably Barbados’ golden era of soca – the ‘Bajan Invasion’ of the late 90s to early 00s. Considering the current ‘Trinvasion’ in entertainment and business, it was poignant. And yet this wasn’t the highlight either.
The true highlight was when the rain came. Just like the fireworks, it came at exactly the right moment, just as the first strains of Machel Montano’s ‘Haunted‘ came on, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. And as the rain poured, they roared:
“It’s prime time,
Mek up your mind,
This Carnival is one of a kind!
Cause we heading outta road,
And we in party mode,
Nobody’s going home,
We circuits overload!”
And THAT… was the highlight. Vibes that cannot be replicated. And at that moment everyone knew Bliss was back.