Review: @MaryJBlige hits stage with a vengeance, addresses critics at Chaifetz show

June 16, 2013

R&B superstar Mary J. Blige had a few choice words for media outlets who've been talking about her financial woes as she brought her Liberation Tour to Chaifetz Arena on Saturday night.

The tour features Blige along with singers Eric Benet, Chrisette Michele and Bridget Kelly.

Deep into the show, Blige took a moment to address recent headlines (she was hit with a tax lien over $3.4 million she reportedly owes the government).

Without mentioning her money problems directly, her message to media was to keep talking. She said an older and wiser person once told her “when they stop talking is when you worry.”

But Blige really had little time for that. She had to remind fans why she is still the queen of hip-hop soul.

Truth be told, some may have forgotten.

Only about 4,000 faithful fans came out to Chaifetz Arena to catch up with Blige, who hasn’t been represented musically much since 2011’s underwhelming “My Life II: The Journey Continues Act 1.”

But Blige, looking super fit and slim, hit the stage with a vengeance during her opening song, a rendition of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody,” taken from the “My Life II” album.

And there was no stopping her from there. For the next 90 minutes, Blige was on top of her game. She stuffed career highlights into a fast-moving set that hit all the right notes.

“Dance for Me,” “Enough Cryin,” “Real Love” and “Everything” were among the upbeat songs that kept fans on their feet.

She revealed her purpose for being there early on, saying she wanted to talk to women in the crowd — something she’s great at — as she introduced her strong “Good Woman Down.”

But she really tapped into her large female base with gut-wrenching ballads, such as “Not Gon Cry” and “I”m Goin Down.” She didn’t fully take it over the top until the game-changing “No More Drama,” a song performed with all drama and emotion.

In true Blige style, she kept her covers flowing, from her take on the Gap Band’s “Outstanding,” Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing,” and more. She also gave proper homage to her most beloved album, 1994’s “My Life,” with “Love No Limit,” “You Bring Me Joy,” “I’m Goin’ Down” and the title track.

Her finale stretch of hits included “Be Happy,” “Just Fine” and “Be Without You.”


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