The Reichhold Center for the Arts resounded with hoots, hollers, whistles and applause on Saturday night as St. Thomas's native son "King" Louis Ible Jr. took the stage to perform his version of a true variety show.
The show opened with a six-piece band dubbed "the King's Court" doing a little warm-up Calypso (and maybe rehearsal) followed by a very young calypsonian, Anthony Springette known as "the Mighty Redds" performing a song he wrote for "the King," [Louis Ible is] "My Hero."
Then Ible took the stage to a warm and welcoming "hometown" audience. He asked for the house lights to be put up early in the show so he could see "his people," referring to the controversy surrounding the concert that centered on whether, Ible, who usually performs at Calypso tent during Carnival, could draw and sustain a crowd for a one-man show at the Reichhold. He did.
He sang and acted out "The Beeper Song" complete with a lovely woman to illustrate the words. He did that consistently in the show, using dancers to augment the words and music of his songs. He sang "The Wedding Song" to a beautiful bride donning a wedding gown and veil.
Ible was accompanied all evening by three female back up vocalists from the group "Savoir."
Part way through the first half of the three-hour show a grand piano was brought out onto the stage and Ible performed a medley of pop tunes from his youth, dedicated to his brothers who couldn't be there.
Just before the end of the first set he sang and acted out his very powerful calypso tune "Pow, Pow, Power," about guns in our community. He was carried off the stage in a pantomime of a death scene.
The second half of the show introduced a more confident Ible and band, playing a lot of his well- known calypso tunes. The audience demanded two encores and did something never seen at the Reichhold offered three spontaneous standing ovations.
A special treat offered to the audience was a performance of "The Pan Song," accompanied by another local talent, Victor Provost, playing his steel pan. Provost, from St. John, was recently invited to perform at the prestigious Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy this coming July.
Ible's last two songs, "Still in de back ah de bus" and "the Million Man March" brought the audience to their feet twice.
What may have been lacking in polish and production quality on Saturday night was more than made up for by heart, soul and love.
Louis Ible Jr. is, himself, a consummate professional but more than that he is a consciencious and loving man.