Robin Thicke Pays Emotional Onstage Tribute to Paula Patton Following Split

02/28/2014 at 09:15 AM EST

Robin Thicke & Paula Patton Split: Singer Pays Emotional Onstage Tribute
Robin Thicke
Kevin Mazur/Getty
Robin Thicke had an emotional moment on stage while performing for the first time since announcing Monday that he and wife Paula Patton were splitting up.

The "Blurred Lines" singer began his concert at the Patriot Center in Virginia with a brave face Thursday. But as the night wore on, signs that his marital issues were weighing on him began to show.

"For those of you who don't know, my wife and I got separated a few days ago, and I want everybody here to know that I'm trying to get my girl back," Thicke told fans, as he dedicated his song "Lost Without U" – which he called Patton's favorite – to his estranged wife.

"I'm going to need you guys to help me through this," Thicke said as he turned away from the crowd to hide his emotions.

As concertgoer Mandy Vazquez tells PEOPLE, "He even messed up on some of the words because he was crying."

In an exclusive statement to PEOPLE on Monday, the singer, 36, and his actress wife, 38, said, "We will always love each other and be best friends, however, we have mutually decided to separate at this time."

With reporting by MARIAH HAAS

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