The first was earlier this year at the Heart of the City Tour co-headlined by Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z. The second was this past Saturday at the Love Soul Tour featuring Robin Thicke and starring Mary J. Blige.
Guess who almost had me on the floor both times?
I’ve seen Mary a total of three times, and each instance has been a different experience. I just saw her five months ago and Saturday’s performance was completely different than April’s. For an artist to change up her show in a matter a months speaks volumes because it probably would have been easier to just stick with the same show.
When I heard Mary was coming back to the Bay Area, I convinced my sister, Regina, to fly out for the concert (for some reason, the tour bypassed Denver) because she’s never seen Mary live before. I’ll venture to say she’s not sorry about the airfare she paid!
I’ve been pumped for this concert since the day I bought the tickets – part of that excitement was the great seats I was able to secure. After sitting in the nosebleed section at the Heart of the City Tour, I made a promise to myself to always get the best seats possible – as long as I can afford it.
Before the show, I was concerned about how well Robin Thicke would do. Having seen him on the BET Awards, I wasn’t sure he would be able to come across well in a big venue.
I was wrong.
Robin came out strong and finished the same. I’m not a major fan of his, but I was on my feet when he sang Magic, Can You Believe and Lost Without You. This is bad, but the thing that stuck out most in my mind about Robin’s show is how fine his drummer and guitarist were!
Many times my friends said “Look at the drummer!” The camera person must have thought the same thing because he/she kept focusing on him.
As the lights dimmed to let the audience know Mary was coming, a countdown to her performance was displayed on jumbo screens. You could feel the electricity in the air because everyone knew we were about to witness a performance we would never forget.
Mary came out swinging with Grown Woman (off Growing Pains) and for the next two hours she kept the energy level high, moving from Love Is All We Need to Be Happy to Real Love to Love No Limit (the remix) to Mary Jane (All Night Long) with ease.
It’s funny because, before the concert my sister and I were listening to Mary’s older albums and discussing what she may sing. Regina called it when she said Mary would go old school, and she sang many of the songs we wished she would.
Performing like a woman who is definitely comfortable in her own skin, it’s obvious she’s in great shape (no heavy breathing between songs) and she looked absolutely fabulous in her all black ensemble.
During the break (in which she changed into an all-white outfit with gray boots), a montage of the songs she couldn’t fit in were shown on a screen. The video clip ends flashing 1975 and playing Roy Ayers’ Everybody Loves the Sunshine.
Mary then appeared back on stage, lying on a couch, singing My Life. It was by far one of the best moments of the evening.
Other memorable moments include Take Me As I Am, Work That, Enough Cryin and No More Drama. I don’t know how Mary was jumping around on stage in those grey high heeled boots, but she absolutely worked it!
The anthem for my life right now is Just Fine, and knowing this would be the last song, I was prepared to go crazy. I can still hear Mary in my head singing: “So I like what I see when I’m looking at me/when I’m walking past the mirror/don’t stress through the night at a time in my life/ain’t worried about if you feel it/got my head on straight, I got my vibe right/I ain’t gonna let you kill it/see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine/fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine oooooh!”
If her performance is any indication of what’s going on in Mary’s life, it is indeed just fine!
Throughout the night, I kept looking over at my sister to gauge her enjoyment level. It appeared she was in her own world, mesmerized like most everyone else.
At the end of the show, all of us had to stop and catch our breath. We knew what we had just experienced would stay with us for a long time to come.
Note: Right before Mary took the stage, a video was shown for the organization she founded earlier this year – the Foundation For the Advancement of Women Now Inc. (FFAWN). According to the Web site, the foundation is “dedicated to helping all women gain the confidence and skills they need to reach their full individual potential.”
Kindred the Family Soul drops a new album tomorrow (Oct. 21). Called The Arrival the first single from their third release is House of Love. I love this husband and wife duo and hope you will support their wonderful music by buying the CD.