He was so overcome by emotion that as a short documentary on his music career was shown to the audience at the MTN Legends and Legacy (LAL) Ball at the Accra International Conference Centre last Saturday, AB Crentsil could not hold back the tears.
His wife held herself together, wiped away the tears and cuddled him like a baby being consoled by its mother.
Until that moment came, the highlife superstar had been profusely praised for his abundant contribution to the progress of popular music in this country and a string of well-known, younger artistes had done their takes of some of his popular songs.
They included Castro, Raquel, Koo Ntakara, Kwabena Kwabena, Efya and No Tribe. King Ayisoba was on stage but did not play any AB Crentsil song.
It was not only the known artistes who rendered AB Crentsil songs on the night. Presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, Hassan Ayariga did a rousing version of Juliana and actor Kofi Adjorlolo was simply great doing the ever-popular Moses.He sang and played his trumpet as well.
Attendance at the Imajin Advertising-organised event to honour AB Crentsil was fair considering the fact it rained in most parts of Accra in the early evening and there were other major entertainment programmes in the city.
Former President, John Kuffuor was at the event. He was present at the 2011 LAL Ball where Daddy Lumba was honoured and made it to the celebration of Amakye Dede last year. When emcee Kwami Sefa Kayi announced that the Gentle Giant had been to all three LAL Balls, the audience clapped for him.
It was a great opportunity for the featured artistes to do justice to some of AB Crentsil’s composition. It was a delight to hear the unique touches they all brought to the material of a man they have a lot of respect for.
Raquel, for instance, did a splendid version of Akpeteshie while Efya soared high and high into the jazz firmament with I Don’t Know Why. Kwabena displayed his mastery of the highlife medium with Obi Baa Wiase and Castro was spot-on with Aboa Oni Dua.
It was an enjoyable affair for the audience as some of them danced their hearts away, obviously happy to be present on the night when that giant highlife star was celebrated.
The man himself later took to the stage and performed some of his classic pieces like Angelina, Atea, Papa Samo, Obi Baa Wiase and Adwoa. It was way past 1.00am on Sunday then, but some of the audience still had enough energy left to shake their bodies to his scintillating highlife.
Bassist Dan Grahl and his Shabo Crew were in good form as the carpet band. They appeared to have rehearsed well with all the artistes they backed.
A number of presentations were made to AB Crentsil as well as his wife on behalf of MTN, Imajin Advertising and the Musicians Union of Ghana.
AB Crentsil turns 70 next January and the 2013 MTN Legends and Legacy (LAL) Ball was definitely an appropriate pre-birthday gift from Imajin Advertising.