(April 27, 2008; Plymouth, Tobago) Pop diva Whitney Houston took center stage at the fourth annual Plymouth Jazz Festival in Tobago.
Houston couldn’t have asked for a better audience. After festival goers were treated to Caribbean sunsets for three consecutive days, the festival's grand finale was a highly-anticipated performance by Houston. More than 3000 music lovers witnessed the six-time, Grammy-winning singer’s return to stage.
Dressed in a single-strap, white column gown, Houston’s flawless appearance immediately brought attendees to their feet as they sang along with her first song selection, the inspirational mid-tempo “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay.”
During Houston's 30-minute set, the audience responded with warm words of encouragement and support of her performance. “She’s come a long way," says Patrice Mitchell from Tobago. "I’ll always love her.”
But for Diane Willis-Reid and Sophia Campbell, who traveled from Jamaica with six other friends to see Houston, her participation in the festival was triumphant and tell-tale sign of the diva's inevitable journey back to the top.
"I love Whitney and I'm just happy to see her on stage," says Willis-Reid. "There's no way she'd come this close to the Caribbean and I not see her. This is a huge success. She's back!"
Although Houston has a long road ahead of her, the fans in Tobago are sure to be cheering her on from the sidelines.
Earlier the festival brought out another anticipated performance--the reunion of the original members of En Vogue: Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson. Nearly a decade has passed since the quartet shared a stage together. The group's last album was 1997's album EV3. For years, rumors circulated that the ladies went their separates ways because of Ellis and Robinson's estranged relationship, but backstage before their set, Robinson started to explain that the reason for the group's split was "a little complicated."
However, Ellis abruptly set things straight. "There was never a breakup. Dawn wanted to go solo and we were all pursuing different things at the time and that's just what it was."
While there are no immediate plans for En Vogue to embark on an official reunion tour or produce an accompanying album Robinson says, "We'll take it from here and see how things go."
Current member Rhona Bennett, an actress and singer whom most will remember from her acting stint on the defunct The Jamie Foxx Show as his jingle-writing co-worker, did not perform. According to Ellis she's still a part of the group and will perform "as we need her." Both Jones and Herron take time off from touring to raise their respective families.
On stage, the group performed signature hits such as "My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)," "Whatta Man," "Giving Him Something He Can Feel," "Free Your Mind," "Don't Let Go (Love)" and closed out the set with their debut hit "Hold On."
For the last three days, the PJF had the best mix of old school R&B, Motown, reggae, soca, and pop. Other artists on the bill were Shakira, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and Steel Pulse. Overall, it was the men who didn't disappoint. Stellar performances by Smokey Robinson, James Ingram and Peabo Bryson prove that like wine these legendary soulsters simply get better with time.
Photo Credit: WireImage.com