Great sets a Red Rose for Gregory

By Rory Daley
Observer writer

Friday, February 16, 2018

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Red Rose For Gregory, held on Valentine's Day at the Jamaica College Auditorium in St Andrew, saw quality performances from headline acts Kelly Price and Freddie McGregor. It lived to its theme of love, a fitting salute to Gregory Isaacs, in whose memory it was held.

“We didn't get the turnout we wanted, but we're happy,” June Isaacs, Gregory's widow and event organiser, told the Jamaica Observer.

Despite the below-par turnout for the event's second staging, she is already upbeat about 2019.

“We'll be doing a post-mortem then we move on. Definitely next year, along with the show, we're trying to open a museum,” she explained.

She was impressed with the quality and commitment of the acts.

“Freddie McGregor, Short Boss, Robert Minott, Pakage and everybody were the highlights for the night for me. I'd be unfair if I said otherwise.”

Red Rose For Gregory, pitched as both a commemorative event for Gregory Isaacs and lovers celebrating Valentine's Day, got off to a lively start thanks to female trio Pakage, followed by Short Boss. They had the audience singing along to R&B staples.

Minott maintained the momentum by performing songs originally done by Tony Rebel, Beres Hammond, and Isaacs.

Price's entry was stalled by a delay, but once she hit the stage the audience was hers. She shared her trials in the music industry between songs like It's My Time, and her take on Shirley Murdock's As We Lay.

“This is the first time we've been in Kingston, so I want to sing for you all,” she told the crowd.

By the time she got around to a medley of hit songs that she wrote for other artistes, like Whitney Houston's Heartbreak Hotel, and She Was A Friend Of Mine, Price had the patrons eating out of her palms. She left on a high, setting the pace for a dapper McGregor. Fans instantly got to their feet, dancing and singing throughout the veteran singer's hour-long set.

Red Rose For Gregory was the second event this month to acknowledge Gregory Isaacs's contribution to music. A Blue Plaque was placed at his Sunrise Crescent home in St Andrew on February 5.

Isaacs died in October 2010 at age 59.




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