This month, after spending over $500 in concert tickets for Beyonce and the Watch the Throne tour, I shopped around for FREE entertainment here in NYC before the summer ends. I lucked out this week on Monday with the MLK Jr. Concert Series in Brooklyn for the “Men of Soul” show with Peabo Bryson, Jeffrey Osbourne and Freddie Jackson. I would have had some great pictures to share with you, but Wingate Park has this ridiculously strict “no camera” rule. And they had a 20 deep security detail at the front gate checking bags. Really? Wiggidy wiggidy wack.
Luckily last night, I traveled upstate to Harlem to attend another free concert compliments of City Parks Foundation SummerStage. It was the Marcus Garvey Park and they were so nice about allowing cameras into the venue. So nice, there was noone at the entrance of the park checking bags.
Unlike the park in Brooklyn, Marcus Garvey Park had bleachers and had a more concert arena vibe, but also made it real crowded for those standing in the back. It’s all good though. It was a free show, which means the complaints should be kept at a minimum. The show started relatively on time with an impromptu dance competition. Boy, I forgot Harlem kids love to dance. Those kids were going IN!
After a lovely performance from the unofficial Harlem Flash Mob, Ryan Leslie hit the stage to perform his hits.
He opened his show with his latest single “Glory” from his first independent album Les Is More that still has yet to be released due to poor marketing. Most of the people in the audience that mouthed the lyrics to songs I have never heard of must have been familiar with his YouTube page where he has posted videos of his performances from around the world, where he has received more recognition as an artist. (Which he explains in the single “Glory.”)
He played his well-known tracks from his two albums Ryan Leslie and Transition like “Addicted,” “Diamond Girl,” “How It Was Supposed to Be” and an awesome extended instrumental of “Hello.” Ryan is a very educated and talented man as he juggled between the mic and the keyboard on stage with grace and energy. He even brought on stage a young black female, giving her her first opportunity to sing on stage and gave her props announcing she was heading to his alma mater of Harvard University in the fall where he graduated at 19. Wow.
I wasn’t a big fan of R Les before seeing him live because on the radio we keep hearing “les” of him. But after experiencing him and seeing him do what he loves and what he is good at actually, I can agree that he is an underrated musician/songwriter.
Another day in