Mary appeared to be a bit off her game

Before I begin with the latest Musing, I would like explain why there hasn’t been a new posting since September. That month ended up being a trying time in my life because the day after I posted my last entry, my mother passed away.

Here I am, three months later, terribly missing the woman who gave me life, but pressing on.

She would – and demand – that I continue on life’s journey.

The next few Musings will be a bit dated, but please understand my mind just wasn’t in the writing frame of mind. Nevertheless, I hope you still enjoy them.

Now, back to what you came for.

Attending a Mary J. Blige concert for me is like going to church. There’s going to be a lot of praising, amen’s and hallelujahs. This is just the way it is when Mary is in town.

My usual experience at her shows is spiritual, reflective and cathartic. Sometimes I might even catch the “Holy Ghost.” It also always leaves me drained with a hoarse voice the following day.

Because I have such high expectations when it comes to Mary and the fact that this was called “The Liberation Tour,” I was a bit surprised that the show ended and didn’t feel as I had previously. Sure, the concert was good, but it wasn’t great.

Mary and D 9 8 12 4Don’t get me wrong, she still gave a performance I’ll remember. She preached to the choir and we hung onto every word, shouting back when necessary (and taking notes as well). Mary still looks fabulous (who is her trainer and can he/she hook me up?), but her voice wasn’t as pure and crisp as it has been in previous shows.

There was something lacking that I can’t quite put my finger on.  It seemed like Mary wasn’t at the top of her game. Perhaps she was tired or just having an off night.

A friend who attended with me said it might be because Mary has had so much turmoil this year. I wasn’t quite sure what turmoil she was referring to – outside of Mary having issues with her charity FFAWN – so I did some research and didn’t find much that would explain Mary’s demeanor.
Mary and D 9 8 12 15Changing twice (into a black dress and white outfit with thigh-high leopard print boots), she started the show rocking a red shorts outfit and her trademark sunglasses. The set opened with her version of Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody. Keeping the high-energy pace going, next was Family Affair, followed by Feel Inside and Enough Cryin’.

She asked the audience if she could get her “Charlie Wilson on” during Real Love (which led into the Gap Band’s Outstanding).

Before launching into Good Woman Down she expressed to the men that, “Fellas, I am a woman and I relate to them, so no disrespect.”  At the end of Not Gonna Cry Mary had her own Holy Ghost moment singing repeatedly, “He wasn’t worth it!”

I usually take a break during I’m Going Down because the audience has sung this song at every single Mary show I’ve been too. And that’s fine, because I’ve been singing along to all the songs anyway, and I need a moment to collect myself before I go HAM again.

I had just one issue, though. Not only did the audience sing I’m Going Down, we also sang portions of My Life and Be Without You.  I found this unusual because Mary generally sings all songs.

Ending with Be Without You there was no encore. When the house lights turned on, I was a bit perplexed. The show just didn’t seem long enough. And once I realized she only sang one song from Growing Pains (Just Fine), I was even more disappointed.

Mary and D 9 8 12 8I can sum up D’Angelo’s performance with two words – he’s back! While D’Angelo pulled a Sade and Maxwell – being gone forever with no new album and no tour, only to resurface years later like the absence would go unnoticed – his fan base never gave up faith that he would one day pull himself together.

From the few news songs he performed, I guarantee his forthcoming album will be well worth the money. It sounded like a cross between Brown Sugar and Voodoo. D’Angelo hasn’t lost the voice (thank heavens) and while his body isn’t in Untitled shape, he’s getting there.

Speaking of Untitled, at the end of the song, D’Angelo struck a “Look at me. I look good don’t I?” pose. And all I could think of was, “Yes, you most certainly do!”

Concert video links: Mr. Wrong, Midnight Drive, Feel Inside, Family Affair

On another note:  While the concert start time was 8 p.m., it began 45 minutes early. Because I wasn’t notified of the time change, I missed D’Angelo’s first two songs and Melanie Fiona, which is quite disappointing. Even though I’m not really into her music, seeing her live may have made me a convert.

I’ve reached out to Live Nation, who said it was the venue’s responsibility to notify me of the time change, and they passed me on to them. The Sleep Train Pavilion eventually e-mailed me, and I responded, only to not hear from them as of this writing. Hopefully this will be resolved before the year is over!

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2 thoughts on “Mary appeared to be a bit off her game

  1. I’m glad you took the time you needed to reflect on your mother’s passing. I know she’s proud of you and enjoyed your writing as much as your audience does. With that said, great post! I missed the concert but I feel like I was there from this entry.

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