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Concert Review: Mary J. Blige, MEN Arena

November 7, 2010
Good things come to those who wait. And sometimes, great things come.
Mary J. Blige fans had to wait until 10pm, an hour after Lemar’s support slot ended, before the hip-hop soul diva finally made it to the MEN Arena stage thanks to a “highway like a parking lot”.
But when she did arrive, a mesmerising performance crammed with power, pain and sheer intensity atoned for the delay way beyond any of her effusive apologies.
Superstars like Beyonce, who owe much to Mary’s legacy, may deliver a highly accomplished chart-packaged pop version of r’n’b, but there’s nothing ‘lite’ about the original. At times her performance is bordering on the aggressive, so full of raw energy is it.
From the moment she stands centre stage, the star of the show is the one and only focus of attention. There’s no big budget production, just a band and a couple of male dancers who make sporadic but barely-there appearances.
No distracting razzamatazz is needed, though. When Mary sings and dances – with a hand-held mic and in killer five-inch heels, a time-served lesson to the pre-record cheats – anyone else is surplus to requirements.
Opening the show in huge sunglasses (she has her own MJB range), a skin-tight black catsuit and over-the-knee boots, she started things off with The One from her most recent album Stronger, and the first of many anthems of defiance in the face of betrayed love, Enough Cryin.
You Bring Me Joy and the old school classic Real Love saw the shades come off and a resulting rapport had the crowd moving and raising the decibels.



What followed was a furiously-paced set which cherry-picked the very finest tunes from a career which has spanned almost 20 years and eight multi-platinum albums.
My Life, from well over a decade ago, was arguably her breakthrough album worldwide, and so fans were gifted the title track, plus the other massive-selling hits I’m Goin Down, Be Happy and I Love You, as well as her sublime version of All Night Long which samples the fabulous Mary Jane Girls’ original.
A ballad section calmed the mood, with faultless soaring vocals on the impassioned Everything and I Never Wanna Live Without You.
Having arrived late, there was no way Mary was leaving on time and so she applauded the audience’s spirit and their dedication. “I could be here are night long just saying thank you, thank you, thank you so much,” she announced.
No More Drama, surely her signature, was their reward. Sung with such overwhelming strength of feeling, it was almost harrowing to watch and when she finally dropped to her knees and threw the mic to the ground, she looked physically and emotionally rung out.
But a minute off stage saw her back and ready to close in party mood with My Life and Be Without You (Hands Up), a final lyrical reminder that, when it comes to fierce and fabulous r’n’b females, plenty can follow but the first is still the very best.

I love the U.K., They keep it real and raw! They shade they threw at Beyonce using Mary's legendary hits was EPIC! Lol

2 comments:

Anonymous at: January 19, 2011 at 7:59 AM said...

I love www.maryjeveryday.com! Here I always find a lot of helpful information for myself. Thanks you for your work.
Webmaster of http://loveepicentre.com and http://movieszone.eu
Best regards

Anonymous at: January 30, 2011 at 4:24 PM said...

I had a good time here but will return to google now.

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