You Bring Me Joy, Ms. Anita Baker

I’m still on a high from seeing the amazing Anita Baker at the world famous Radio City Music Hall Sunday night.  She was everything I hoped she would be…and then some.

The show’s opening act was comedian Pete Dominick.  At first, I was a little bit apprehensive that his humor would be off…well, with him being white and the audience being predominantly close to middle-aged black folks.  I can only do the white vs. black jokes but for so long.  Refreshingly enough, he joked about topics ranging from married life to children to…black people.  Okay, of course he had to go there, but praisingly enough, it was funny.

The show tardily started after 9, but when you come to see a legend like Anita, you don’t complain…you just wait.  When the lights dimmed and the curtain rose, the crowd began a thunderous round of applause before the lady of the night even appeared on stage.  Then she walked out in a long gown in her favorite color, black.  The shoes had plenty of sparkle as the lights on stage made them glimmer into the audience.  Her three backup singers and five piece band along with the music director on the grand piano complented her ensemble as they all wore white.

She sang old time favorites like “Sweet Love” to open the show and talked to the crowd as she segued from one song to another with serene moving backgrounds like rain drops, corn fields (that’s what it looked like) and a clear blue sky.  One of the best moments of the night was when an audience member brought her flowers and when he was confronted by security, she allowed him to present them to her.  She kept her audience involved in her show as she asked everyone what song next they wanted to hear next.  There were times when she was getting really into it and told the crowd to “get stupid,” encouraging people to get out their seats and enjoy themselves.  She also took the time to thank some of the celebrities in the audience like gospel great Bebe Winans, The View host, Sherri Shepherd and Bill O’ Reilly….yeah, you read it right.  the controversial FOX News anchor was in attendance to enjoy the sounds of Ms. Baker.  She said it best, “music has a way of bringing everyone together.”  She went on to bring Bebe on stage for an impromtu duet to “No One In This World.”

That wasn’t the only duet Anita had in store.  Close to the end of the show, she brought out an artist with whom she has a new single debuting on radio airwaves in the coming days, as she announced.  Also donned in all white, Tyrese Gibson graced the stage to sing slongside the slow jam goddess.

At the end of her show, she said she usually sings “Angel” for her encore performance, but for the first time in ten years, she let the audience decide the show closing’s fate.  When she suggested “Body and Soul” to be performed instead, the crowd cheered in approval.  It was a classy show for a timeless, classy performer.

Another day in Brooklyn…Radio City, NYC

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