I’ve seen Erykah Badu perform so many times in the last 12 years that I cannot give you an exact number (the most recent was this past New Year’s Eve). What I know for sure is this, when she’s in the building, I almost never leave my seat because I don’t want to chance missing a moment of her show.
It pains me to write this, because I love, love, capital L-O-V-E Badu (to date, she remains my all-time favorite artist). But I actually took a bathroom break during her performance at the Mountain View Winery on Saturday.
And afterwards, I wasn’t in a rush to get back to my seat.
I must admit upfront I had high expectations for this show. My sister saw Erykah a few months ago where she performed the entire Baduizm album. So, I assumed my show would perhaps be similar.
You know what they say about assumptions.
The audience was in for a treat, and depending of what frame of mind you were in, it was either pleasant and entertaining, or disappointing and frustrating.
For me, it was more the latter and a little of the former.
My friends thought Erykah was the bomb (I’m the only one in the group who has seen her more than twice). And to a certain degree, she was. Her voice was crisp and clear; she hit all notes and did each song she sang justice.
The vibe of the show stayed pretty cool and mellow, and her band sounded fantastic.
However, my major issue with the show is the song selection. I suppose singing the same songs over and over can become tedious, so I expect a switch up. Changing the melody and beat of a song to make it totally different? I get that, but to not include Bag Lady and/or Window Seat in the set? Unacceptable.
Throwing in a song (or maybe two) by other artists is cool, but there comes a point where enough is enough. I paid $100 to hear Erykah sing Didn’t Cha Know, Otherside of the Game, Out My Mind, Just In Time and Green Eyes.
I will admit, though, she cleverly intertwined Yarbrough & Peoples’ Don’t Stop the Music with her I Want You. But then it went on and on – for about seven minutes.
I loves me some Outkast – just ask my friend T-Dawg how deep the love runs. Sidebar, they need to get back in the studio together!
Back on point – Erykah made it clear that she (for obvious reasons) has a strong bond with Andre 3000 (the father of her first child), but to take almost seven minutes of the show do to their song Liberation? And I mean, not just her contribution, but the WHOLE SONG!
Right after, Erykah flowed right into her part on another Outkast song, Humble Mumble.
Granted, I know E. Badu is free spirit who is damn good at expressing herself artistically. It’s her world and she sometimes does what she feels in the moment. I guess I’ve accepted that about her because every show I’ve been to has been on point – up until Saturday.
It also didn’t help that concert start time was at 7:30 p.m. An hour and a half later (after being forced to listen to a DJ play music that never hyped the crowd), Erykah’s band appeared at 9, opening with Amerykahn Promise for almost five minutes before she emerged from behind the stage. On the album, this song is only 4 minutes and 16 seconds.
It was almost nine minutes before it ended – five minutes too long in my opinion. Disclaimer: New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War) is my least favorite Badu creation; hence I tend to not want to hear songs from this album.
The band teased us with notes from Otherside of the Game, but stopped and went into Appletree, which lasted a whopping one minute before she stopped again and went into DJ mode. I’ve been fortunate to witness her DJ set – she definitely can make a living just doing that – but it was the perfect time for my bathroom break.
According to my friend, Erykah dedicated Love of My Life to the late singer Aaliyah.
I returned to the show during I Want You, but never made it back to my seat. It was much better standing and dancing in the aisle.
I knew it was about to be over because she rushed through Me and Tyrone.
When 10:30 came, the show was over. No encores; no going over time because you’re feeling it. Mountain View has a strict curfew and they promptly cut Erykah’s microphone off at said time.
Which is my second issue. I’ll assume (yet again), that she was aware of the time restriction. This isn’t the first time she’s performed at the winery (I was there and it was a fabulous show), so why would she come out late knowing she had to end at a very specific time?
I finally realized what this show was: a hodgepodge of her previous performances. And that just doesn’t work for me.
So, as much as I love, adore and cherish E. Badu, I will be taking a break from her live shows – unless she’s released a new album that I absolutely love.
So tell me, have you seen Erykah live and if so, how was the show?
Setlist: Amerykahn Promise, Orange Moon, Master Teacher, Outkast’s Liberation and Humble Mumble, On & On, & On, Appletree, Love of My Life, I Want You (mixed in with Don’t Stop the Music), Danger, Times a Wastin’, Me, Tyrone