A night of love songs
Screams for Rick, Richard
By Sateesh Maharaj

Story Created: May 15, 2011 at 11:42 PM ECT

Story Updated: May 15, 2011 at 11:42 PM ECT

Thousands of patrons packed into the Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain on Saturday night to witness four of the United States music industry’s biggest ballad entertainers perform live.

The five-hour event was well attended with a near sold out VIP and VVIP section. Even the general admission stands held a sizeable crowd.

The event, billed “The Ultimate Night of Romance”, was organised by Concerts International which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

The perimeter of the Oval and nearby side streets were lined with parked vehicles as police officers directed vehicles away from blocking the free flow of traffic in the area.

Following the National Anthem at 7.30 p.m., former Survivor lead vocalist Jimi Jamison took the stage unannounced, catching many at the drinks concession stand by surprise.

He opened up his half-hour performance with “Burning Heart”, from Rocky IV and included other favourites such as “The Search is Over” and “Is This Love?” Dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, and sporting a low haircut, Jamison set the tone for the afternoon.

“Trinidad rocks, man,” he told the appreciative crowd.

He ended his set with another tune from the Rocky series, “Eye of the Tiger”.

After an hour’s wait and a thunderous drum instrumental, Rick Springfield took the stage with “I’ve done everything for you”. The wailing guitars and energetic music were matched only by the screams of thousands of women eager to see the popular singer remove his shirt.

Springfield was last in Trinidad three years ago in the same venue, where he was billed together with REO Speedwagon and Vertical Horizon. Whilst Jamison commanded an older audience, Springfield was a hit with teenage girls and women who felt young upon seeing the svelte superstar thrust his hips onstage.

The veteran rock star did let some profanity slip but later apologised upon seeing a child in the audience.

“I thought this was an adults-only night,” he said.

Springfield had the most interactive session of the night and went into the audience twice, much to the delight of the thousands of women in the VVIP section.

Almost 45 minutes later Richard Marx welcomed the Queen’s Park Oval crowd.

“I’m so glad to see you guys,” he said with a smile. “When I landed I was reminded of how beautiful everybody is here… and the women aren’t bad either.”

With over three decades of music to his credit, Marx slowed the tempo a bit with popular ballads such as “Endless Summer Nights” and “Angelia”. The audience sang along to the hits and watched a video of the singer’s three sons playing along to his latest song, “Save Me”. He gave his version of “This I Promise You”, a song he composed for boy band ‘N Sync.

The skies had been overcast for most of the afternoon, but even the heavens seemed to weep as Marx sang “Through My Veins”, a tune in memory of his father. The light drizzle sent many to seek shelter but thousands still sat through the persistent sprinkle—umbrella or not.

The versatile musician took to the keyboard a few times and as midnight approached he ended with “Right Here Waiting For You”.

A chant of “Richard! Richard! Richard!” went up after he left the stage but there was no encore.

Michael Bolton, the final performer of the afternoon, began with “Soul Provider”, his version of the international hit “You Don’t Know What It’s Like” then “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” and “Said I Loved You”.

“You all still awake?” he asked the audience. A loud cheer let him know that they were.

Bolton’s set was a trip back to the oldies and for those who could not relate to Jamison, Springfield or Marx. He was the only performer to use back-up singers and included an instrumental number by saxophonist Michael Lington.

After a soulful rendition of “Lean on Me,” Bolton thanked the audience and bade them goodnight at around 1.30 a.m.