Wednesday night’s gathering at ACL Live for Mary J. Blige was a special event. With couples decked to the nines, ready to listen to every word preached by Queen Mary, it felt somewhat like a religious experience: the sentiment was empowering, with her lyrical focus on the struggles and triumphs of the every-woman, including emotional ups and downs, love, fun and family. And honestly, who can’t appreciate that? Especially with a good beat.Mary’s set stayed true to her R&B/hip-hop roots with a balanced representation of her repertoire featuring a handful of her old school jams. She kicked the night off with a cover of Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," from her new album My Life Part II and continued with "Family Affair," which quickly turned Moody Theater into a swanky night club where everyone got up dancing, singing, and happily cheering along.
It was impossible to sit down as she turned out undeniable hit after hit, including “Real Love,” “Everything,” “No More Drama,” and “Sweet Thing” to bring down the house. The energy was high as fans embraced her iconic performance and sang along to each word, often leading the intro into popular songs before Mary took over, reflecting their utter adornment. The verdict is in: Queen Mary still reigns, with her contagious energy and empowerment.
Photos by Amy Price, words by Jessica Skinner.