Veteran reggae singer Richie Stephens kicked off his summer 2012 “God Is On My Side” tour with a stellar performance at the world famous Manhattan Center in New York City last weekend. The show also featured headline acts Maxi Priest and R&B icon Billy Ocean.
“This was an extra special performance that fans thoroughly enjoyed!” the singer said moments after exiting the stage to thunderous applauds from the packed house.
Stephens earned all of three encores during his set that included a special pallet of gospel, soul and lovers rock songs. The high point was the emotional ballad “A Change Is Gonna Come” from his recently released gospel album “God Is On Your Side.” The Kingston based singer was in fine nick as he crooned hits “God Is On My Side,” “Let’s Drink,” “Trying To Get To You,” “A Change Is Gonna Come,” “Should I” and a reggae version of “Spanish Harlem.” During his first encore, Stephens stirred the crowd with the ska tinged “Give Me Your Love” and the feel good Jamaican anthem “Come To Jamaica,” which paid homage to the island’s 50th anniversary. He closed out his memorable set with a passionate rendition of his tribute single “Live Your Life” and the “Gospel medley” which earned a well earned standing ovation. Some fans danced in the aisles as he glided thought the playful “My Girl Diss,” which he performed with his friend Maxi Priest.
“The vibe with Maxi was magical! It was the first time we have actually performed the song together” he exclaimed!
The following night, Stephens held court at Mingle Cafe in the Bronx for an intimate, up close and personal performance that was well received by fans. The monthly long tour, which will crisscross the USA with stops in Mishawaka, Indiana, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chicago sprinkled with performances in Jamaica, follows his recent award for ‘Best Music Video’ at the 2012 International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) in Chicago. So far Stephens has racked up 12 awards for 2012 including three (3) ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards,’ four (4) ‘Song of the Year’ awards, a ‘USA Congressional Proclamation,’ two (2) ‘Achievement Awards’ and ‘Best International Song’ for 2011.