Getting published is a real be-yatch! Hear about my ups, downs and a few random rants in between.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday Thirteen: Edition Deux

As much as I love music, this was a tough one! Live shows are hella expensive.

Thirteen Live & In Concert

1. Budweiser Fresh Fest, Baltimore Civic Center Yes, it’s totally irresponsible for a beer to sponsor a concert that was targeted to under-aged kids. Yes, there was marijuana aplenty at the arena. Can you say, contact? But my very first live show, seeing Run DMC, sexy ass, LL and Whodini (Gah, Five Minutes of Funk is the shit!!) hands down was the Best.Concert.Ever!

2. New Edition, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Ahhh, the original 80’s boy band. Screw the New Kids on The Block, they were just N.E. wannabes! Hangin’ Tough my ass. Wanna talk about losing your mind? This is the first concert I ever cried at. When you’re thirteen and only dream of walking hand-in-hand with your fave boy band member then finally see him up close and personal, it can be quite an overwhelming experience.

3. BBD & Keith Sweat, Capital Center
Ya know, I always thought this an odd combo for a live concert. BBD (Mike Bivens, Ricky Bell & Ronnie Devoe from New Edition) were at their height with the whole Hip Hop, smoothed out on the R&B tip with a Pop appeal to it. Keith Sweat was still riding high from his whiney R&B debut. Never really thought they had the same audience but, the house was packed.

Me and my girl, Nise, were just doing a girls night out thing. I had a mad crush on Mike Bivens (still, seven years after the NE hype) and had just pledged a group of girls who I forced to greet me as Big Sister Poison in honor of BBD’s hit single. I was astounded when Keith was the one who really turned the concert out. Go figure!

4. Jodeci, Constitution Hall
Alright look, the acoustics in Constitution Hall suck! It sounds like the artists are singing into a stringed can and you’re holding the other end up to your ear. It’s awful. But when Jodeci came out (Yeahyay-e-yay-yeah-e-yayyyyy) it was a must-see concert. Bad news. They didn’t have a band, they sang against the track and the stage at C.H. must be small because it seemed like they were bumping into each other all night.

5. Mary J. Blige, Constitution Hall
But seriously, this was Mary when she was still dating K-Ci from Jodeci and probably doing all types of illegal pharmaceuticals. In other words, Mary used to seriously rock the mic, channeling all of her man troubles and substance abuse issues into song.

I’m not saying she needed that to make good music…but damn, Mary’s songs were ripe with all types of unresolved angst. She earned those Queen of Hip Hop Soul stripes!
The best MJB CD, hands down, Mary. All that live instrumentation surrounding her throaty vocals…if you don’t know you better ask somebody.

6. R. Kelly, Capital Center
This was before the infamous pee tape. Let me say this, I do not find R. Kelly sexy in the least. He’s tall and has some definition in his arms…but…he doesn’t do it for me. But Lord his concerts are packed with so much sexual tension it could melt your socks right off your feet. I needed a serious cold shower afterwards. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

7. D’Angelo, Constitution Hall
I know, right. Why do I keep going to concerts here?!

D’Angelo had cancelled the original date of this concert and this was the make-up date. No doubt in my mind he was doing all he could to make up for cutting out on DC a month earlier. It was a mellow, mediocre concert until, Oh My God, he did Shit, Damn, Motherf***er (yes, that’s really the name of it) as a rock song. His band cranked this joint so hard I thought the ceilings were going to crumble. The crowd went completely NUTS! D if you’re out of jail and getting yourself together, release this live, rock n roll version as a single. Gah!!!!!

8. Capital Jazz Fest, Year 1- in Annapolis, Year 2 – Bulls Run

Jazz fests are the shiggity. I love that you get a full day of music. Granted, I’m tired mid-way through, but getting your money’s worth is not a problem.

The first year, it was great having it, basically, in my backyard. I thought the Navy-Marine Corps stadium was a perfect place for it. Lounging around listening to jazz all day ain’t a shabby way to spend a Saturday. But of course the snooty Annapolitans who lived across from the stadium complained about the noise and the trash and the Fest moved on to Virginia, the next year. Yes, because when the Midshipman have their games and tailgate from high noon til midnight, there’s never any noise or trash. Please!

Bulls Run was muddy, messy and un-enjoyable. I haven’t been back since, even though it moved to Merriweather Post three years ago. Annapolis gets the gas face!!

9. Maxwell, Constitution Hall
Clearly Maxwell is in the witness protection program or something, because I haven’t seen or heard from the man since this concert. But if going into hiding is what helps him make good music, hide on brutha. The live version of Ascension is BANANAS.

I’ll never forget it, damn near front row seats. Maxwell was rocking the vagabond look – baggy hobo khakis, a white tee under a sweater vest and sneaks – and the women in the audience were losing their minds. I’m talking take your panties off throwing ‘em on the stage mind loss. The hubster, arms folded, looks around the arena, shakes his head and goes, “Now, you know damn well if brother came up to you trying to holler dressed like that you and the rest of the women in here would be pissed off thinking, I know that raggedy-ass expletive not trying talk to me.” Truth! Truth! All I could do was laugh.

10. Vivian Green, Constitution Hall
She was a relative unknown. Her CD wasn’t even out yet. Prior to the concert, I’d interviewed her for We knew she’d be a star if radio would let her. She’s completely under rated. Without any glitz, glamour or backdrops she mesmerized the audience with her band and her vocals. Live version of Emotional Rollercoaster, insane! Made me remember what music should be about.

11. The Scream Tour, MCI Center
Yikes! Do you know how big the MCI Center is? It’s where the Washington Wizards have their games. Okay, well the place was sold out. Wall-to-wall screaming teenyboppers bringing the house down every time Bow Wow or one of the little young ‘uns from B2K or IMX lifted their shirt.

It was Princess A’s first concert and when I wasn’t worried about finding the emergency exits (seriously, the place was ridiculously packed) I had as much fun as she did. My cousin and I had the girls make B2K hats with their favorite members name on it and we played the B2K CD all the way to the concert to get in the mood. We had a blast! First concerts rock. But umm…B2K broke up two months later.

12. Best of Both Worlds Tour, Baltimore Arena
Highlight of this concert with Jay-Z and R. Kelly, I got to see Mike Bivens from New Edition walking into the concert. No, really. That was the best part.

I really like Jay-Z. And I’ve already mentioned that R. Kelly in concert is foreplay. But together, meh…they were aiight. I hadn’t seen R. Kelly in concert since the first time, five or six years before. And I’d never seen Jay-Z, live. I expected a lot. It was mostly glitz (R. Kelly’s elaborate sets and clothes changes) and Jay-Z didn’t have a live band, so ya’ know I could have listened to his CD and jammed equally as hard.

Okay in order to make thirteen I have to cheat. These are two concerts I saw on television. But they’re live!

13A. Janet Jackson, HBO Special (the first one, not the second)

This concert was hot, hot, hot. If I were a guy, Janet would totally be on my list. I forget what this HBO special was called. But, I remember that she was donating some of the proceeds to a charity headed by Colin Powell. And he was in the audience.

Most memorable moment about this concert was Janet’s performance of Rope Burn. She chose this guy from the audience (pre-determined for sure) and tied him into a chair. As she sang to him she rubbed, cooed and lap danced. It’s no secret that many of Janet’s dancers and those in her circle of friends are gay. And I believe the guy she chose for this segment was also. But I tell you what, the song was so hot I’m sure he was having some serious thoughts about his sexuality. Hell, I was!

13B. Usher, Showtime Special
I’ve always liked Usher. I mean before he became Err-sher, he of the six-pack abs. I’m talking, rocking his first single, Think of U, which was three years before he blew up! That’s why I was so disappointed in this concert.

Sometimes, it’s good to keep the illusion provided by videos and thirty second segments on TRL as the only images of your favorite artists - because when given a full hour or god forbid, two, you really get to see how talented they are.

First, Usher lovers, it’s not that he’s not talented. But he’s not as talented as I originally thought. His vocal range is limited. Not saying he’s only a studio singer, but, I don’t know…he strained a lot throughout the night. And while I’m usually always into his dancing on videos, I got bored with the same choreography after the third or fourth song. I’d still buy his CDs. I just won’t be going to any live shows.

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