A few hours after millions of New Yorkers watched the ball drop in Times Square, Manhattan, on what was the second-coldest New Year's eve celebration on record in 100 years, veteran reggae crooner Freddie McGregor, brought fireworks and a burst of Jamaican sunshine, to warm hearts at the New Year's Eve Black and White Ball held at the Resort World Casino New York City.
"Happy New Year!" McGregor said, as he greeted the excited crowd inside the Casino. From his opening salvo, See It In You, the 'Captain' found his groove, connecting with fans who sang and danced to hits, Let Them Try, Push Come To Shove, Keys To The City, Prophesy, Big Ship and his 1987 cover, Just Don't Wanna Be Lonely, that found favour with the single ladies in the house.
He encored with an a capella version of his R&B ballad So I Will Wait For You, that tugged at heartstrings. At the end of his set, event host DJ Roy thanked McGregor for his support and presented him with a custom-made Road International winter jacket, engraved with the words 'CAPTAIN Freddie McGregor, WE RUN ROAD.'
"Now you will never be cold again," DJ Roy assured McGregor.
Florida-based reggae crooner Hopeton Lindo, who preformed earlier, delivered the first spark of the night with Lonely Nights, while Ian Sweetness, whose velvety baritone voice invites comparison to the late, great Frankie Paul, had to 'pull up' his reggae version of Little Green Apple all of three times.
The annual event which was held at the posh Resort World Casino for the very first time, attracted a full house of friends, well-wishers, music lovers and the 'who is who' in the Jamaican diaspora. Among the revellers were veteran radio broadcaster Gil Bailey, who was making a rear public appearance since his wife Pat Bailey passed away over a year ago. Also in attendance were Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness' mother, Sonia Harvey; Florida-based radio host John T from WAVS, who made the trek to NYC; attorney Donald Vernon; and members of the Irie Jam radio family.
McGregor's next big performance will be at the annual Rebel Salute 25th anniversary celebration which will be held in Priory, St Ann, on Saturday, January 13.