Tue | Jul 23, 2024

Virgonation showed up for Romain

Published:Thursday | June 20, 2024 | 12:50 AM
Jesse Royal (left) and Protoje were among the friends who joined Virgo on stage during the Kingston leg of The Gentleman in Concert tour.
Jesse Royal (left) and Protoje were among the friends who joined Virgo on stage during the Kingston leg of The Gentleman in Concert tour.
Romain was grateful for the support of his friend Christopher Martin, who also made an appearance on stage on Sunday night.
Romain was grateful for the support of his friend Christopher Martin, who also made an appearance on stage on Sunday night.
An overwhelmed Romain described the unplanned moment as ‘history-making’ when he welcomed his role model, Beres Hammond, to the stage.
An overwhelmed Romain described the unplanned moment as ‘history-making’ when he welcomed his role model, Beres Hammond, to the stage.
In addition to performing the hit ‘Fade Away’ with Romain, Agent Sasco treated the audience to a brief medley of his own hits, including ‘The Mix Up’.
In addition to performing the hit ‘Fade Away’ with Romain, Agent Sasco treated the audience to a brief medley of his own hits, including ‘The Mix Up’.
Romain Virgo in his element during the Kingston leg of The Gentleman in Concert tour held on Father’s Day.
Romain Virgo in his element during the Kingston leg of The Gentleman in Concert tour held on Father’s Day.
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Instagrammable moments aplenty were the order of the night when Romain Virgo and his friends took total control of the stage at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre last Sunday for ‘The Gentle Man in Concert’.

It was the day specially reserved to celebrate fathers, but dads just could not compete with the women of the Virgonation Movement, who outnumbered them at least 20 to one, inside a capacity-filled, open-air venue, that had shoulders rubbing harmoniously as fans became instant musical friends.

The Johnnie Walker ambassador gave a performance that certainly earned him his stripes all over again, and even the legend to whom he is constantly being compared, Beres Hammond, made an unscripted move and joined Romain on stage at 12:15 a.m. It was a legacy moment that an overwhelmed Romain described as “history-making”, as he welcomed his role model to sing two songs, even as the super excited fans reacted in shock, awe and delight all at once.

Needless to say, nobody wanted Beres to go, but he had to. After his exit, Romain smoothly continued the momentum, thrilling fans for another 20 minutes, taking his total performance time to more than an hour and a half, even discounting the two minutes when he scared well-wishers by slumping on the stage because he “just needed to stop”.

Earlier, Romain had invited some of his friends to share the stage with him, among them Christopher Martin, Agent Sasco, Jesse Royal and Protoje. Romain delivered older gems from his own catalogue and had fans of all ages singing word-for-word to songs such as Mi Can’t Sleep; Leave People Business Alone (with Chris Martin); Fade Away (with Agent Sasco); Want to Go Home (Rain is Falling); and Taking You Home; as well as some of the offerings from his new VP Records album, The Gentle Man.

Romain shared that he was delighted by the love shown by his musical friends.

“I believe having my musical brothers Protoje, Jesse Royal, Christopher Martin, and Agent Sasco coming out with me at different points was super special, but the highlight of the night for me was having Mr Beres Hammond walk out on that stage and doing what he did. I knew that he was going to pass through, but I didn’t know that he was actually going to come out on stage and share that moment with me and everybody who came out. It is beyond a blessing to have these special moments and share these super special moments with people I love and respect and look up to. I am sure that everybody who came out felt the very same way,” Romain told The Gleaner.

Possibly, Hammond’s son, Rasheed, who was hanging out with his dad on Father’s Day at the Johnnie Walker-sponsored event, had a hand in that.

Romain Virgo secured a place in the hearts of fans from his appearance as a high school student in TVJ’s All Together Sing, and then cemented that place when in 2007, at 17 years old, he became the youngest winner of the hugely popular talent contest, Digicel Rising Stars. He has been rising ever since.

Cynthia Campbell, one of Romain’s biggest fans, remembers his journey only too well, and the 84-year-old was present with her family to watch her favourite artiste in concert. And the icing on the cake is that her grandson is the keyboard player for Romain’s Virgonation Band.

Earlier in the evening, two up-and-coming female artistes were given the honour of opening the show for Romain. First up was Janeel Mills, a talented singer, who got more comfortable on stage after ditching her heels, and she even serenaded two men in the audience. She ended her set with the song Holding Strong, which she told the audience was “a prayer”.

At 10:16 p.m., Tori Lattore, a bold singer with dancehall vibes and excess amount of energy, made her entrance and gave a short and memorable performance. She borrowed from the catalogues of Dennis Brown, Beres Hammond, Sizzla, and Richie Spice, but made each song her own. Prior to exiting the stage, she thanked Romain for the opportunity to showcase her talent on such a huge platform.

After witnessing The Gentle Man in Concert, Nadine Hylton, brand manager for Spirits at Johnnie Walker, said they are extremely proud of their brand ambassador, Romain,” It was a pleasure to tour with him to all 4 stops–St Ann, Montego Bay, St Elizabeth and now, Kingston. He is the ultimate professional and certainly resonates the Johnnie Walker ethos of overcoming each step of his journey.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com