He plays to the crowd and it works

Published May 7, 2007

At face value, you wonder what would posses women to stand for hours in uncomfortable shoes waiting to see a guy who's the spitting image of Alan Thicke. But 20 swoon-worthy songs later, you get your answer.

Robin Thicke - yes, his dad is the guy from Growing Pains - told Saturday's near-capacity crowd at Jannus Landing that the night would be "a celebration of love and hope. And Cinco de Mayo, y'all." And the blue-eyed soul It Boy delivered all of the above.

Thicke's opening act was a series of local DJs and R&B artists, whose varying degrees of talent left fans disgruntled; eventually they could be heard mumbling something about amateur night at the Apollo Theater. But 2 1/2 hours after the doors had opened, Thicke took to the stage and went straight for his ace in the hole - a seductive falsetto often mistaken for that of Justin Timberlake or soulful lady killer Maxwell.

Wearing a sweat-soaked black button-up shirt, black dress pants and white Adidas sneakers, the singer alternately sat behind an upright piano and danced around the stage for up-tempo numbers like When I Get You Alone and the Latin-flavored Everything I Can't Have. That is, if your definition of dancing comprises doing the running man and raising your arms a lot.

Still, Thicke had the estrogen-heavy crowd eating out of his hands, caressing the mike stand and prefacing ballads with remarks like "I wrote this song when I was in desperate need of some sexual healing." When Thicke's guitarist strummed the first few bars of the bossa nova-flavored uberhit Lost Without U, women hugged themselves, swayed and proceeded to purr every word.

Thicke didn't leave out the fellas, either. Throughout his 90-minute show, the crooner noted which songs worked best under which circumstances, providing the guys with a CliffsNotes version of how to score with women.

When in doubt, try a line like "Baby, you're the perfect shape. Baby, you're the perfect weight."

Works every time.