R&B hit machine Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds, who has written, produced and sang over 50 top 10 hits with single and album sales of more than 600 million units worldwide delivered a spectacularly impressive performance at this year’s Groovin In The Park on Sunday. For more than an hour, the ‘Tender Lover’ singer served up a tasty concoction of love ballads for thousands of female fans who were there to see him perform. Edmonds’ voice caressed hits like “Tender Love”, “Whip Appeal”, “Give U My Heart”, “For the Cool In You”, “When Can I See You”, “Every time I Close My Eyes” and many others. With the help of backup vocalist SteFano Langone, he segued into top 10 hits songs he had written or produced for other singers including ‘I’ll Make Love To You’; ‘Can We Talk’; ‘Don’t Be Cruel’; ‘My, My, My’ and a scintillating rendition of the Boyz To Men classic ‘End of The Road’. He nearly caused a stampede when he ran through the VIP section and into general admission much to the delight of female fans who who got an opportunity to touch, hold and photograph the 11 time Grammy-winning artiste. Other strong performances came from singer Romain Virgo, who demonstrated that he is indeed the brightest star on the reggae horizon. The ‘Fireman’ Capleton who was making his second appearance at the festival in 3 years delivered one of his most entertaining NY performances and fans showered him with rapturous applause throughout his set.
Dancehall DJ Busy Signal, who was returning to Groovin 2018 after his performance was cut short last year delivered all his big hits and some. He earned his biggest ovation with the Country & Western inspired ‘Gambler’ which resonated with fans in a big way.
The near capacity crowd, perhaps the largest ever in the event’s eight year history, felt only elation when reggae superstar Damain “Junior Gong” Marley made his way on stage. From his opening song, the young Marley commanded of the stage, invoking memories of his father, reggae luminary Bob Marley. The audience went wild when he invited Capleton for ‘It Is Written,’ that climaxed a stellar performance. Gong brought the curtain down with his reggae anthem ‘Welcome To Jamrock’ which proved an ecstatic climax to a molten-hot performance.
Three female reggae artists, Marcia Aitken, based in New York, Pam Hall from Kingston and JC Lodge visiting from London led a sizzling performance segment called ‘Women In Reggae’ that generated sustained raves from the audience at Roy Wilkins Park.
“This is the best reggae show I have ever attended in New York City”, rising reggae artist Alvin Allen (Paashot) said after the show. “The lineup was outstanding, the vibes was outstanding and I enjoyed myself to the max. It was epic!”