Fantastic Fantasia -Jesse Royal, Romain Virgo satisfy at Blues on the Green
The national anthems of both Jamaica and the United States of America signalled the start of the 24th Blues on the Green concert, hosted by the United States Embassy at Emancipation Park, New Kingston, on Friday.
It was expected to pull a large crowd, but with patrons arriving at the venue from as early as 3 p.m. for the scheduled 7 p.m. start the turnout was massive. Overwhelmingly, the concert goers came to see R & B sensation Fantasia Barrino in action.
Fantasia was the closing act, therefore Jamaican talents Jesse Royal and Romain Virgo were tasked with the challenge of keeping the crowd entertained until the Lose to Win singer’s turn. The local boys did not disappoint and provided thrilling sets.
Royal treated the audience to authentic roots rock reggae music, his set including popular songs such as Modern Day Judas and This Morning. He had the audience totally captivated with his cool style of delivery and the audience soaked up every bit of his reggae offerings.
Jesse Royal made way for Virgo, who took the concert to a new level with a slew of love songs. Fantasia was the night’s main act, but while Virgo was on stage the audience seemed to have forgotten that. Mesmerising the lady patrons, the former Rising Stars winner delivered a masterful set. With every song selection the screams from the audience grew louder and louder — it was as if Virgo could no wrong.
Virgo led the audience in a singalong as he delivered Wanna Go Home, Rich In Love and Love Doctor. Just when one thought his set could not get any better, the soulful singer kicked it up a notch and delivered powerful reggae renditions of Adele’s Don’t You Remember, Sam Smith’s Stay With Me and R Kelly’s When A Woman Loves.
Romain did well to get the audience’s energy up to the level it needed to be to welcome Fantasia and he made his exit to cheers and screams.
It was then on to the woman of the night. As she made her entrance Fantasia greeted the crowd and vowed to give all — and that is exactly what she did as she sang her heart out and left it right there on the stage. Wanting to feel the energy from the audience, Fantasia invited persons to leave their seats and join her at the front of the stage. Scores of patrons rushed to the front, pushing and shoving each other along the way. The response was so overwhelming that security had to hold some persons back.
The former American Idol winner had the audience eating out of the palms of her hands as she did some of her most popular songs, including Man of the House, Free Yourself, When I See You and Without Me. She fed off the crowd’s energy and delivered hit after hit to perfection, taking the back seat from time to time so her backup singers could show off their vocal abilities, which were just as good as Fantasia’s.
Aside from performing her own songs Fantasia also threw in Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come, much to the delight of the audience.
She closed with Lose To Win but not before she gave Jamie Wilmott, a student of the Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts, an unforgettable experience when she invited him on stage to sing with her.