The King and Queen of Hearts Concert Review

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906 words
George Washington University
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I attended the king and queen of hearts concert featuring Mary J. Blige and Maxwell with special guest Ro James on November 26th of 2016 at Phillips Arena in Atlanta. The trek features two of the finest soul singers of the last 20-25 years, both performing full sets to promote new albums. Wondering about the name of the tour; it fits Maxwell since a high percentage of his songbook deals with love and, especially, love making. But not Bliges strong suit. Shes at her best when shes tussling with themes of personal empowerment, self-respect, and survival, not throwing gooey love tales. I have never been to a Blige's concert before nor Maxwell's, attending this show I was quite skeptical if it was worthwhile.

Ro James opened the show punctually 7 pm. He thrived in warming up the crowd. He brought out the arena that no one could have foreseen. His voice was inviting, flirty but definitely on the main. His performance included songs like "green light" a favorite with the growns. His set was creative. The front end of Cadillac El Dorado projected the stage with its headlights lit. He was also open enough and shared some of his story with the audience.

The break in between sets was impeccable. Then the time for the next act came, and the arena commanded our attention. Everything went pitch black. Then newspaper headlines appeared on the screen. Following Blige's recent divorce filing from husband and manager Kind of Isaacs, Blige did no shy away from the news but assured the crowd immediately that things were ok. Then a blue silhouette accompanied that legendary voice of this queen. There were pyrotechnics, streamers and giant platform with her initials "MJB." Her outfit was epic. She wore thigh-high boots, brown leggings, leather jacket, fur vest and MJ inspired shades. That followed two costume changes, and the next was spiked leather top with leather short and black pumps then later it was a black open front blouse, black hot pants, and royal, blue thigh high boots. She gave the crowd an hour and a half long performance that could only be labeled as unapologetically MJB. She performed a song like. "Not Gon' Cry," "Im Going Down," "My Life" And "No Drama all the way to her new track Thick of It."

After Bliges performance you could have called it a night, money well spent. But there came Maxwell. He entered like a true king. He was suited up from head to toe including the most debonair shades. He made an exceptional entrance that trapped everyones eye. Kicking his set off with a song from the past Till the Cops Come Knocking, and one from his new album, Hostage. He moved across the stage like water. Maxwell went through the favorites and best by a tribute video to Muhammad Ali, Prince and David Bowie), Unfortunate, Sumthin', Sumthin'" And "Ascension" To "Pretty Wings" And "Lake by the Ocean." The only thing that seemed to take away his show was the encore, which the audience hope for but it wasnt there.

The artists had the crowd swooning and cheering; Maxwell let his voice take control of the crowd with ease. In between songs, he sang/talked to the crowd about his Thanksgiving holiday. Hearing Blige strains her voice to hit individual notes was a joy because that's when you know she's singing her heart out. And at times, she just raised her hands in the air, mid-verse, and fans took over the song on cue especially for "real Love."

I went to the show with an open mind; I didn't know what to expect. I have been listening to Blige's music since I was little, and it quite satisfying to say that she never disappointed me. I left the show with one thought. R & B music is not dead. It's alive and flourishing. Both artists are brilliant and accomplished that I have watched most of my life. Blige is a powerful female figure who never lets anyone step on her, and she typically vents through song.

The 45-year-old Bronx native released her multiplatinum debut Whats The 411? in 1992. Her 13th studio album, Strength of a Woman," dropped in December 2016. Blige wasn't offering emotional support; she was celebrating her roots as a game-changing energy in music, having brought a hip-hop edge into R &B and soul in the 90s. She has released 12 records since her 1992 debut while Maxwell has five studio albums to his name the most recent being blackSUMMERSnight. Like Blige, Maxwell was celebrating his past credits. Making two decades since the release of his album, Maxwells Urban Hang Suite,"

Both artists were amazing. Blige's vocals were outstanding and caught to the audience which made me feel consumed by the music and performance. The backup was astounding too as they formed a silhouette with instrumentals. At one point she could stop singing and let the saxophone play which was quite catching. On the other side, Maxwell falsetto voice was outstanding throughout. Although at sometimes he was drowned out by the music; however, he quickly recovered when hitting the high note, making it even more impressive that his voice firm was enough for 90 minutes of singing in his falsetto register. Overall the show was outstanding; they both stood the test of time. Age is nothing but a number, they may have gotten older, but their essential principles of timeless, professionalism and the ability to captivate remain unmoved.

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