"The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage," says Whitney's ex during a Mississippi show

By Linda Marx
Updated February 12, 2012 10:30 AM
Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

The show went on for Bobby Brown Saturday night, but Whitney Houston’s ex husband cried onstage and had to stop several times to compose himself in a heartfelt performance at Landers Center in Southaven, Miss.

“First of all, I want to tell you that I love you all. Second, I would like to say, I love you, Whitney. The hardest thing for me to do is to come on this stage,” Brown said while performing a show with New Edition hours after her tragic death.

And even though Brown, 43, was overcome with emotion, the jam-packed audience supported him throughout the night.

Bobby sang for Whitney, and when he shed some tears the audience cheered him on, concertgoer Lagina Scott, who attended the show with husband Don Scott, tells PEOPLE. He was so awesome. He performed his heart out, even saying, I love you, Whitney.

Don Scott said the audience could feel Brown’s strength even as he wept on stage, even when he had to stop performing to compose himself.

“Bobby was so strong tonight, I give him a 100 percent, because I could not have done this, Don Scott tells PEOPLE. Hours before, Bobby was told the love of his life and the mother of his soon-to-be 19-year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, had died, and he went on to do the show, which lasted for more than 4½ hours.

The Scotts said the entire evening was a tribute to Houston, and they would have paid double to see how great Brown and New Edition performed.

“Bobby asked us to pray for his daughter and to pray for him,” Don Scott said. “When he cried, I could feel the pain he was suffering, because he could not be with his daughter tonight, the time she needs him the most. I cried just watching Bobby speak.”