Concerts Redux: My Summer/Spring

I've been fortunate enough to see some good concerts over the past year, and so I going to give a quick sypnosis (not a review..too tired for all of that) starting in the spring(whatever that means in Boston) and going through the summer in NY. It starts with John Legend and goes through some greats like India Arie, Lauryn Hill, Doug E. Fresh and the Lox. Be prepared..this is long...just scroll until something catches your eye.

John Legend and Corrine Bailey Raye at The Orpheum(Boston) April 19,2007

This concert was beautiful, and Corrine Bailey Raye as the opening act only made the experience more worthwhile. The crowd was older, which allowed for a more mature and classy feel to the night. Every song was performed at a level of perfection and the highlight came when Johnny and Corrine performed some items together. They should actually do something together for an album, because they sounded really good together. Perhaps the most humorous part of the night came when Johnny puled a girl from the crowd on stage and proceeded to take of his shirt to show his loose Hanes undershirt. That was definitely a Johnny what are you doing moment. When he performed "Coming Home" I definitely was touched, and he also had a slide show of kids and families waiting for people to come home from war. This concert finally brought me around to fully accepting "Once Again" after a slightly less than great review I had given for my school paper. If you ever have the opportunity to see either of these artists in concert, I say go for it and you shall not be disappointed.

Events on my campus
Jadakiss performed at a Fashion Show for a short bit, and he was good. Unfortunately kids on my camus are real tame, so while I was ready to bang out and enjoy, I was one of the only ones up on my feet.
Third Eye Blind performed in the rainy weather in the Yard. It was cool I guess, I made my way to the gospel group's performance and had a 20x better time there. Afterwards I swung around to the Latino group's reception for their concert and met Luny of Luny Tunes. That was also hot.

94.5 Summer Jam---Somewhere in the boonies of (Mansfield) MA June 2007
| >tons of artists (Kelly R., Bow Wow, Ludacris and Bobby Valentino,Bone Thugs n Harmony, Omarion, MIMS(i think)Lloyd, Fabolous, Swiss Beats, part of Dipset, some more..and the surprise guest, 50 Cent)

Special thanks to a friend, because this concert almost didn't happen and it was the most fun concert of the year. NY's Summer Jam is supposed to be better, but MA did good for themselves. It was my swan song of approval for the state as I prepared to head out. A gazillion artist performing all the latest hits, tons of people in outside seating made it a fun day overall. I can't talk about every single act, but there are some memories. I was disappointed that the acts didn't collaborate to perform songs together when they obviously had songs together, but beyond that it was cool.

Kelly Rowland obviously has songs but nobody knows them. This was probably the shortest act of the event as she came out, performed "Like This," performed some of her Patti LaBelle from Dilemna and walked off stage. After her Swiss Beatz probably had the shortest set. He sang his song of the moment, It's me Snitches, and then played a lot of songs he produced.
I think MIMS performed, but I can't remember...does that say much?

On to some highlights:
Lloyd is not a person you expect a highlight from, but his set was cute and he had a little Mr. Rogers moment, so that was appreciated.

The Dipset Crew is just hilarious.

Bow Wow gets a special shout out because I'm his biggest fan. He's been out for a minute, but I guess he's not at the LL point where he feels comfortable singing the songs he first came out with. No "Bow wow wow yippie yo yippie yay where my dogs at..." Truth be told he doesn't have a "Momma said knock you out" from his preteen years, but it would have been cool. In Freshazimiz, he changed up the lyrics to say that he's no longer with Ciara eliciting screams from all the 15 year olds in the crowd, it was a good look.

Omarion is a good performer. He danced around the stage, and kept the tempo up at a point when people were starting to get tired. He also had cute stories ready to whip out to transition into songs. I definitely see how he did the Scream tour for so many years. That audience must have eaten it all up.

LUDAAAAA...was great. He brought out Bobby V and let him perform as well. As one of the most established performers of the night, he had a larger repertoire of songs to pull from so that the audience could be truly entertained and rock out with him.

Bone Thugs and Harmony are just classic. They sang one of their new joints and killed it on some older pieces. Their promo piece spoke to who they were as they also had collabos with everyone (It's Bone and Biggie baby) We're gonna miss everybody..

50 Cent...I'm not a fan, but he gave a good performance. His whole thing for the night is that he didn't have to run around the stage to entertain and was going to perform from one spot. He did, it was cool.

Overall, great concert and I'll definitely hit up another Summer Jam.

India Arie and Lizz Wright at Carnegie Hall, June

My cousin hooked me up with tickets and I was happy to feel all mature and classy again. I wasn't that familiar with Lizz Wright's music. I heard a few songs but didn't have a spot on favorite. Thankfully I was not disappointed by her. She has a beautiful voice and an easy going performance style.

India Arie was something else. Her performance was great, but sitting there made me realize how bitter she was under the guise of empowerment. Someone did her wrong and I think they need to work that out in a conversation...not a song..

The Martin Luther King Concert Series at Wingate High School, Brooklyn New York. I did all of them except Anita, Boyz II Men, and the O'Jays. In some of my earlier posts I talked briefly about them:

Full list:
*1st week: Jason Fox (open)--MC Hammer, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and MC Lyte
Fun Fun Fun. Jason Fox came out and of course we only knew how to do the Aunt Jackie but that was fun. MC Hammer still has it and used his son to fill in dancing when he got tired. I was waiting to get a laugh out of him doing that semi-patriotic rap, but he didn't. Instead we all got reminded that We got to pray, pray everyday. His dancers were still energetic and the West Coast vibe that us Brooklynites usually miss out on was great.
I'm convinced Slick Rick was high, but he and Doug E. Fresh were still a great performance. Doug E. Fresh did his same old school rock and still looks like a 10 year old. They also brought out other old school heads and mixed it up. ..If I remember correctly Little Vicious came out and did a little. Happiness.
MC Lyte was the best performance of the night. She did some of the standards and added a little freestyling to the mix.
Added benefits: Cake Man Raven was there and we had red velvet cupcakes. YUM!

*2nd week: Gospel Night: Fred Hammond, Byron Cage, Vanessa Bell ArmstrongCompared to last year when they had crazy Tye Tribbet and G.A., this was more sedated, but Gospel Night is always great. Marty Markowitz shouted out church groups and pastors and Fred Hammond was the highlight of the evening. Beautiful evening.

3rd week:(i thought it got rained out) Ruben Studdard and Boyz II Men..apparently it went on

*4th week:Caribbean Night: Mighty Sparrow, Machel Montano, Morgan Heritage( and more!)
I'm certain I mentioned this week already, but it was great. How old is Mighty Sparrow? He still mashed up the place. But Soca/Calypso is a trip and I did not know there were so many ways to say jump and wine in a chorus..and the trini people did not stop. My favorite for the evening was Morgan Heritage and their new song "Headline Fi Front Page." They also brought out tons of Reggae artists that lived in Brooklyn. Shaggy came out, got the crowd hype thinking he was going to do Church Heathen...and then left the stage. Shameful. But great night.

*5th week: Sean Kingston and Lauryn Hill
Sean Kingston can sing well live, but needs a confidence boost. It's sad when the camera mn thinks that your hype man is the performer because he gives that much more to the performance. Lauryn Hill kept the crowd waiting for 2 hours only to show up high on some week that must have been laced with quack. From her disheveled bag lady look to her destruction of Bob Marley standards, the song was a disappointment. Artists have the right to their own interpretation and changes to their song. Jill Scott, Leela James and several others do it all the time. What Lauryn Hill did wasn't good. People started leaving after the first song, but I stuck out for a bit longer before deciding to go back home and pray for her.

6th week: Anita Baker
I didn't make it, but I hear this was the best of the summer.

7th week: The O'Jays and the Spinners

Zune Live at the BBQ: Dumbo, Brooklyn: tons of folk...just a whole lotI missed the beginning of this so I don't even know who was there. I hear Cham performed and mashed it up. It was a nice small event, with people sitting on the grass, soul food stands, and tables with games everywhere. It was also a good mix of performers. Special Ed came out and some people that were rapping when I was still listening to my Disney records. Lord Tariq was also there and those are the names I remember. The DJ sets were a little long and annoying. One major highlight was the LOX performing together. It was a special moment, and unlike my campus, people knew to get live for an occassion like this. We gon make it had everyone on their feet, people running from the food lines, and a beautiful organized madness. The closing act for the evening was LL Cool J. I have seen him before, and he's always been a good show. I was not disappointed by his performance and had to chuckle when he started talking about the monkeys over at Def Jam. In typical LL style he brought tons of people on stage to party with him and took a little girl on stage and gave her a speech on how special she was. It was endearing. I'm still a fan. The last time I saw him he told everyone to tithe. Greatness.

John Legend at Joe's Pub-SeptemberI'm not a John Legend stalker, but I had the opportunity to go to this concert for work. It was a benefit for GQ's The Gentlemen's Fund, and Johnny is their spokesperson. So the highlight of the evening was that I got to go backstage and meet him and take pics, and was also sitting right up underneath him. This was 10x more intimate than the last time I saw him perform, and I still enjoyed it a whole lot. Even in the mellowness of his songs, he brings an energy to his performance, and manages to move a crowd by sitting at his piano. He also kicks up his left foot while he plays. I thought that was amusing. "Coming Home" did it to me again.

Bacardi B-Live: Calle 13, Talib Kweli, and Sean Paul at Steiner Studios, with DJ Mark Ronson Brooklyn-SeptemberI'm just going to pretend that John Legend was the end. This was yet another free outdoor concert to end my summer, but the most disorganized one I've been to yet. After having people stand on line for forever (thanks to friends I got to cut) they opened the gates to just have people run in. There was no seperate line for people with VIP tickets or press passes, so they had to push through the entire crowd of people waiting and it was a fire hazard.
Calle 13 is cool but the girls they pulled on stage made their set. This one chick thought she was Shakira.
Talib Kweli was the best performance of the evening. I saw him before with his whole crew (Pharoahe Monch, Mos Def, Jean Grae) so I was prepared for it to not be that experience, but even by himself he brought it. He did a mix of old songs and songs off of EarDrum. I'm a big fan of his MySpace Album with Madlib, so I was a little disappointed that he didn't do any of those. Still he mixed it up, brought out some old school raps as well as R&B/ Soul/ and Motown songs from decades past. The best part of his set wasn't even his performance, but how real he kept it. Two girls started fighting and he stopped to point them out and tell them about themselves, and then broke into "Say Something." A fire moment right there.
Sean Paul was the last act, and he was speeding through songs. Worse off he didn't do any of his older songs like Deport Dem or Infiltrate. Brooklyn has too many Caribbeans to try to only do the songs that made big commercial success, and not what put you on the map. Shame.

Mark Ronson: Great DJ.

That was my year thus far...There were a lot that I missed that I'm still sad about Amy Winehouse (for 15 dollars..that'll never happen again), Stephen and Damian Marley (for 23 dollars...I told you Boston is a dumbtarded city) and Leela James (free in NYC yet again and I missed it..sigh)



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