Thu | Jun 20, 2024

Romain Virgo thrills fans at sold-out NY concert

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2024 | 12:07 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Romain Virgo entertains fans during his set at the Crown Hill Theatre in Brooklyn last weekend.
Romain Virgo entertains fans during his set at the Crown Hill Theatre in Brooklyn last weekend.

Brooklyn, NY:

Love Doctor Romain Virgo made a special house call at Crown Hill Theatre in Brooklyn, New York, last weekend for back-to-back sold-out concerts in support of his new album titled The Gentleman. It was his first appearance in New York this year.

Backup singer, Tori Lattore, kicked off the musical soiree after a masterful selection of reggae classics by Rory Stone Love. Lattore proved her pedigree, warming up the crowd with the Dennis Brown classic Should I, followed by Beres Hammond’s Step Aside, Sizzla’s Give Me a Try, and Tanya Stephens’ It’s a Pity.

Janeel Mills struck a responsive chord with Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam, All My Life, and Adele’s Easy on me.

Romain graced the stage at 10:43 p.m. looking dapper in a lime-green jacket with matching slacks and white shirt. Backed by a five-piece band, he announced his presence crooning “ This is a serious time, violence and crime. And a bare gun thing di youths dem have pon dem mind” from his massive hit, Mi Caan Sleep. Other hits flowed like a river, including Bills to Pay and He Who Feels it.

“It is such a pleasure and honour to be in front of you tonight” he said, passionately sharing how good it felt to be back in Brooklyn.

He then unleashed Been There Before from his Gentleman album, which features DJ Masicka, Patoranking, Capleton, and Jesse Royal. Red Dress brought rapturous applause from the masses as he serenaded a young fan in a beautiful red dress.

For the next 10 minutes, Virgo, who won the popular Digicel Rising Stars contest in 2007 at age 17, took patrons on a musical odyssey, mesmerising them with Rain is Falling, Way too Beautiful, Chatty Chatty before pouring his heart into Dutty Man, a song which was recorded with young singer Tashae Silvera. Virgo once confessed that Dutty Man made him understand the pain of girls who have been sexually abused.

The crowd roared as he segued into a “versus” segment where he asked the crowd to help him decide which of two popular cover songs to sing. It was an easy choice between Ex Girlfriend vs Just a bit Longer, the Maxi Priest 1991 Billboard hit. The choice between an Alton Ellis medley vs Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs was difficult. As he crooned Night Nurse, the range and depth of his velvet, baritone vocals was exposed. It Tears me up was well executed, as was Marvin Gaye’s Let’s get it on. The segment closed with a stirring rendition of Michael Bolton’s Soul Provider.

Different Day and Love Doctor sounded great with assistance from the Brooklyn mass choir -- the amped-up crowd inside the Crown Hill theatre. With the heat beaming at full throttle, Virgo turned on the burners, taking off his jacket, much to the delight of the female fans, especially a 60-plus year-old standing in earshot who shouted, “Take it off!” to expose what she hoped was his chiselled chest. That would however have to wait for another time and place.

“Can I sing for you tonight?” the Love Doctor asked.

“Yes, yes!” was the resounding response, and he sang the night away, eventually bringing the curtain down with Rich in Love and Kevin Lyttle’s Turn me on.

“It was awesome!” purred Victoria Harper, district sales manager-Northeast USA, Jamaica Tourist Board.

“We truly enjoyed the concert, and Romain really put on quite an epic performance.”

Ann Marie Grant, executive director of the American Foundation for UWI in New York, was also impressed.

“It was a spectacular performance. I was impressed, and so proud of him. Kudos to his management and band members,” Grant said.

Brooklyn, which boasts the largest concentration of Jamaicans in the diaspora, was obviously a very important stop on Romain’s ‘Gentleman Tour’, and he demonstrated unequivocally that he is indeed one of the brightest stars on reggae planet.