Monday, October 05, 2009

Its 3 days late, but I will attempt to do a review of the Maxwell concert on Friday evening. First off, it amazes me how much people can both over and under dress for these types of shows. I saw men dressed like they just lifted weights, and I saw other men dressed like they were headed to the President's Inauguration Ball. I saw women dressed like they en route to an adult film shoot, and other women dressed like prom night was upon us. Men had wandering eyes, and the woman were hell bent on making other women jealous of their outfits. And it wouldn't be a black concert experience without not one, but TWO airbrushed pictures available for people to take pictures in front of...good times indeed.

The lady and I arrived at the Verizon Center about five minutes before the show started, and stopped at the cash bar to purchase a bit of the wine, which meant we missed most of Chrisette Michelle's set. Still, from what I heard while I was line for wine, she was not impressive. Granted, I don't know her music that well, and what I have heard is underwhelming, but still her set was just boring. There was no showmanship, no audience interaction, no vocal acrobatics, no wardrobe malfunctions, and no back and forth with the band. She can't even blame the lack of an exciting performance on the lack of a real crowd, because the Verizon Center was VERY full while she was performing. She definitely needs to work on having more of a stage presence. I give her a C-.

Next up was Common, who was backed by the talented singer Muhsinah, and the even more talented singer Bilal. Common was everything Chrisette Michelle was not. He had enough energy for three people, he interacted with the crowd, and as he usually does during a show, he did a little breakdancing. Common also let Bilal sing solo on a couple of numbers, which I found particularly entertaining, since Bilal is criminally slept on in my humble opinion. The only drawback about Common's performance, as I suspected would be the case going in, was that he yelled his lyrics so loud that they were hard to hear. Also, he didn't do a single song from his first 3 cds, which would have appealed to his older fans. Still he made up for all that by doing a 2 minute freestyle, in which he incorporated the names of Gilbert Arenas, Obama, and Howard University. Not many established rappers do those types of on-the-spot freestyles. I give Common a B.

It was at this point in the show where I realized that pianist Robert Glasper was NOT performing on his own, but he was performing as a member of Maxwell's band, which made much more sense. But anyway, Maxwell came out with a full band, a horn section, background singers, and special effects (totally not necessary). I can readily admit that Maxwell is indeed a smooth brother, and he is one of the rare singers who manages to sound better live. He seamlessly switched between his regular voice and falsetto, he never got too loud or out of control. He knew when to dance, when to stand and sing, and when to interact with the crowd. He even displayed his smooth side, when prior to the song Bad Habits, he danced a little too hard, and lost his balance. He stopped the song, made a joke about it, told the crowd to get a little more pumped up, then he started and killed the song. My only complaint about Maxwell, will come off as hating, but there were too many damn slow songs. Then I remembered Maxwell is about the ladies, from what I saw and heard, the ladies (including mine) were loving the show. Most of the men were sitting patiently or just flat out sleep..although this one straight man in front of me, kept jumping up and down at both the slow AND fast songs. His man club card was promptly revoked after the show. Maxwell gets a B+.

Overall, I give the show a B. It was entertaining and exciting at points, but it was not worth the money I paid. Also, I enjoyed Maxwell much more at the smaller venue, when I could hear everything better. I appreciate the rock star element of performing at a large venue, but I still think he needs to stick to smaller ones. I should have written this review on Friday night while I was still pumped up and apologies

I'd also like to take this time out to apologize to all the people at the show who I know and saw, but ignored. Its nothing personal, it was just too loud and too crowded for small talk.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your review. I was at the concert and even though I loooooooove Maxwell like every other Woman out there I prefer him in a smaller venue. There was too much going on soundwise that I really didn't enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed his previous concerts. I missed both Chrisette and Common so I don't have an opinion on them.

a. o. mcclyde said...

i'm glad to hear this. i wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, b/c i think it was the Donnie Simpson show that ripped him a new one after an earlier concert he gave this year.

i saw Common at Rock the Bells this year, and he's definitely got good stage presence.