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Mary J. Blige Malaysia Concert Review

February 14, 2011
Hip-hop queen Mary J. Blige was in fine form at her first concert here, writes BIBI NURSHUHADA RAMLI

IT is not known if it was hip-hop queen Mary J. Blige’s choice to perform on such a bare stage for her first Malaysian concert last Tuesday, but the setting certainly didn’t match her superstar status.

Musicians filled the back half of the stage, giving Blige and her two dancers hardly any space to move about. There was no backdrop whatsoever, and no effects, just some lighting here and there.

Thunderous cheering, however, welcomed the singer as she came onstage, opening the concert with Rock With You. She wore a black, shiny, fitting outfit, moving with ease across the stage, and she greeted her audience with vigour.

Her energy never waned throughout the concert. It certainly was a feat as Blige was always moving, always dancing, along to her songs.

There was a medley of MVP, The One, Enough Crying, You Bring Me Joy, Be Happy and You Remind Me (Remix) and it was exciting to watch her alongside her dancers. She was just as smooth in executing the tricky moves.

For the next round of songs, Blige only sang a few verses from Real Love, Everyday It Rains, I’m The Only Woman and I Love U (Yes I Do). “Thanks for making me feel so welcome here. It’s my pleasure to honour my Malaysian fans with songs that have saved so many lives,” she announced.

She continued with Love Is All We Need, Reminisce, Love No Limit and Mary Jane. Before she began Good Woman Down, she called out to the crowd. “Ladies, if you’re beautiful and if you can’t be held down, make some noise!”

After that, Blige disappeared backstage while her band played intense guitar and drum solos. She reappeared on stage wearing tight white pants, a white tank top and black boots, all of which highlighted her curves. Then she sang Everything, Not Gon’ Cry and I’m Going Down next.

Blige was applauded for her vocal prowess throughout the show. She hit both the high notes and the lower registers well, but problems with the sound system somewhat marred the overall effect.

Like all artistes, Blige saved the best for last. When she began the first verse of I Am, the crowd was already on its feet and dancing to the beat. The piano introduction to No More Drama received loud cheers. Blige effectively conveyed the emotion in the lyrics and remarked after: “The key to getting around (drama) is to learn how to say ‘No More!’”

For the song One, a duet she had originally done with Irish band U2, Blige asked the audience to wave their cell phones in the air.

“That felt good. After going through so much, you have to become One.

Everything is going to be just fine!” she exclaimed before belting out the fast number, Just Fine.

Family Affair followed but Blige didn’t show any signs of fatigue and her vocals maintained their strength. She disappeared backstage after the song.

The she yelled: “You want some more?” and the crowd screamed with joy. “I’ve got some more. I’ve got something to tell you. I can’t be without you, baby!” She sang out the last sentence.

Be Without You was her encore and the crowd went wild singing with her and moving forward, closer to the stage.

Many fans complained that she had omitted to perform some of the popular numbers. Well, it seemed quite a feat to me already that she delivered 25 songs in the 1½ hour long show.

• The Mary J. Blige Music Saved My Life World Tour in Kuala Lumpur was presented by PR Worldwide and supported by official sponsors, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Prestige Limo, a Naza Venture Holding Sdn Bhd, Mix.fm, ntv7 and Diva Universal.

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