Deniece, Sanchez toast of Red Rose


Deniece, Sanchez toast of Red Rose

Observer writer

Monday, February 17, 2020

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Patrons came for American singer Deniece Williams, but stayed for Sanchez at the fourth Red Rose For Gregory show at Liguanea Golf Club in New Kingston on Saturday evening.

Dressed in their finest red-and-white gowns and dress shirts, heels and pointy-toed shoes, the audience was treated to a delightful performance from four-time Grammy winner Williams, who graced the stage just after 11:00 pm.

Clad in a sparkly camouflage outfit, her spunky personality also glistened as she shared stories of her journey in music. While the audience were thoroughly entertained by the hilarious delivery of her narratives, it was her powerhouse vocals that got them going. She opened her set with Gonna Take A Miracle and followed with Free.

As she took moments to commend Jamaica's weed and rum punch, Williams segued into Black Butterfly, Let's Hear It For The Boys and Silly. When she completed her performance, the crowd begged for more and she returned for an encore performance of I Surrender All.

No stranger to Jamaica, Williams has performed at Reggae Sunsplash and Shaggy and Friends. Her experiences with Jamaican audiences has taught her to just be herself.

“I'm the best rendition of myself. I don't change anything, because I feel that they come out to see me, they are in my living room and we are talking, just people talking. I feel if they are here, they just love the music. They want to see my growth and see how crazy I have gotten,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Though she and Gregory Issacs were signed to the same booking agency, Williams said she never met him.

“Shame on me! When I think about my career and I think about the things I could have done or the people I could have interacted with he is definitely one and I really do wish I had the chance but I'm here tonight and we are celebrating him and this is my part in that,” Williams expressed.

“The highlight performance for me tonight was Deniece Williams. I was anticipating her act and she did well. I had a great time, really,” said audience member Sharon Simpson.

Veteran singer Sanchez closed the curtains on an amazing night, making his entrance by humming into the microphone at almost 2 am.

Sanchez rocked the crowd with One In A Million, Wherever I Lay My Hat, You're Not Alone, Lonely and Pretty Girl. He followed with a slew of gospel tracks then paid homage to The Cool Ruler with a rendition of the classic Night Nurse. Sanchez's set also included his timeless Never Dis Di Man. He shared his set with Flourgon and Daddy Lizard.

“Sanchez was really the highlight for me for the night, I enjoyed his performance,” said patron Cindy Smith.

The pace was set by opening acts Ray Issacs, and Khaution. Other performances came from Junior Sinclair, Knolij Tafari and Rasheem Williams, Mr Cooper aka Zakious, Richie Mac, Georgia Henry, and The Melodians.

Third World also delivered an impactful set as they has the audience singing and dancing to their plethora of hit songs. They brought the house down with Now That We Found Love, Reggae Ambassador, Forbidden Love, Committed and Try Jah Love.

Duo One Third shared the stage with Third World for Always Around.

Gregory Isaacs' widow and event organiser, June Isaacs, was pleased with the latest show.

“We had a wonderful turnout and I would just like to thank everyone who helped to make this year a success. If Gregory was here, he would be happy; he wouldn't say much but I know he would be pleased. We are looking forward to a bigger and better fifth staging,” she said.

Isaacs died in October 2010 leaving behind a legacy of hit songs including Hard Drugs, Love is Overdue, Front Door, Soon Forward and Rumours.

He suffered from drug addiction which led the Gregory Issacs Foundation to get involved with the Patricia House – a rehabilitation centre in Kingston.

As with previous Red Rose For Gregory, proceeds from the show aid this cause.

The occasion saw Trevor “Leggo Beast” Douglas and Errol Dunkley being presented with plaques. Douglas received his for being Isaacs's road manager, while Dunkley got his for being a co-founder of Isaccs's African Museum Record Label.

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