Proposal at Red Rose for Gregory
The song was Peabo Bryson’s If Ever You’re in My Arms Again when Darrien Williams got down on bended knee to propose to his girlfriend, Alicia Newman. Patrons at the Red Rose for Gregory concert, held at the Liguanea Golf Club in New Kingston on Sunday, screamed in delight when they realised what was happening. An emotional Newman said yes as Bryson serenaded the couple – quite the backdrop for a proposal.
Together with her partner for 18 months, the soon-to-be Mrs Williams did not predict the engagement. “I had no clue he was going to propose,” she told The Gleaner. “I love Peabo Bryson, and that song is one of my favourites. I’m truly lost for words.”
Williams had originally planned to pop the question during Bryson’s performance of Tonight I Celebrate My Love but saw no need to wait.
They were not the only Bryson fans, as hundreds of patrons cheered and sang along to his ballads. These included Can You Stop the Rain,Never Saw a Miracle and I’m So Into You.
Bryson is no stranger to performing in Jamaica, but this occasion was different.
“Coming to Jamaica to work for yourself is one thing, but coming to Jamaica to recognise and honour someone that is significant to reggae and the heart of what this culture is all about and what they gave to the world makes any night special,” he told The Gleaner. “I think it inspires musicians and artistes in a way that we can’t be inspired on our own. It gives you that extra drive and ounce of flavour, intensity and veracity in whatever you want to convey to your audience.”
He conveyed love in his performance of the Grammy-winning collaboration A Whole New World with Regina Belle, who had earlier thrilled the audience with a vivacious set. Baby Come to Me, If I Could and Freedom were a few of the songs the songstress belted before leaving the stage, to the dismay of some fans who called for an encore.
“It was a wonderful night. The crowd was fabulous and electric, and they gave me the opportunity to do what I do, so I really appreciate the fans in Jamaica,” she said.
Other performers included Junior Sinclair, Japanese saxophonist Megumi, and Rey Isaacs (Gregory’s nephew).
The third annual concert was hosted by the Gregory Isaacs Foundation, and part proceeds will go to the Patricia House drug-rehabilitation centre in Kingston.
Isaacs remains a staple figure in reggae music, whose cool, charming mannerisms and vocals capture audiences even a decade after his death. Known for songs like Soon Forward, Love is Overdue, Night Nurse and My Number One, the crooner died from cancer at age 59.