In recent years when Valentine’s Day rolls around there seems to always be a good soulful R&B concert to go to in London town (UK). This year was no exception and it was sorely needed in light of the recent shock passing of Whitney Houston. The line up at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo was a mouth watering one for those of us over 25, and possibly for a few discerning youngsters. Silk, Dru Hill, Ginuwine & SWV were all on the bill meaning the title of R&B Superstars was more than justified.
At this point that I feel I must confess something: Although I know Dru Hill and Ginuwine’s music very well I’m not as familiar with that of Silk or SWV, aside from the obvious hits Freak Me and Right Here. However I live with my fiancé who is older than me and very much into their era of music so he has attempted to educate me. I felt it necessary to put this disclaimer in case of any mistakes I make in the following reviews.
As usual we had to endure a long snaking queue to get into the venue which seemed to be for no other reason than the door staff being slow as there were no rigorous security checks holding up the process. Once inside we paid for two overpriced drinks at the bar which was only accepting cash payment and then headed in to find our seats on the second row of the balcony.
As it turned out we’d arrived just in time to see the British warm up act finish and for Silk to come on as the first act of the night.
Better known in the US than in the UK, Silk were tasked with opening the main show and they did a great job of it. All four members of the group were smartly dressed and in fine voice. They belted out hits from Freak Me to Meeting In My Bedroom whilst executing a few smooth dance moves. They also did their bit to involve the crowd by making jokes and getting a few female fans up on stage with them. Founder member Gary Jenkins particularly impressed with his voice, audience interaction and the fact that he managed to hold up and dance with a tall over enthusiastic fan for a good few minutes on stage!
I must admit that this group was the one I was most excited about seeing as I have long admired them. And I’m pleased to report that they did not disappoint. They arrived on the stage with a high energy that they carried throughout their performance and they reeled off fan favourites such as Tell Me, 5 Steps, How Deep is Your Love & In My Bed. They impressed with the strength of their voices and their always-on-the-beat dance moves. Sisqo and Jazz’s performances stood out as expected, the two of them are exceptionally talented and time has not dulled any of their talents. Dru Hill for me are the epitome of what a R&B vocal group should be like. They make other groups such as Jagged Edge (who I previously reviewed here) seem inferior by comparison.
Super smoothie Ginuwine has never been shy about getting the crowd involved in his performances but this time he got perhaps more than he bargained for: At one point during his performance he was raised slightly above the crowd and a few fans lost respect for boundaries as they grabbed at his crotch. With the assistance of his DJ and backup singers he bounded about the stage, unfazed, singing as though his life depended on it. He did a particularly steamy performance where he got up close and personal with three lucky young ladies who were brought onto the stage. Of all the nights performers he is the only one who has consistently been releasing music since the mid 90s and as such he had a lot of songs to choose from for his set. Stand out songs for me on the night included In Those Jeans & When We Make Love.
As the only female performers of the night these three ladies got a very warm welcome from the crowd who seemed to know their music much better than I did. Appropriately they opened their set with their biggest hit Right Here before launching into other songs such as Weak, during which they got a male fan up on stage who could not sing at all but was good fun. Interestingly for me I felt the standout track from their set was their brand new single Co-Sign. It has a good catchy feel to it that I could learn to love.
Overall it was a fantastic night full of talented acts and between them Choice FM regular Kojo kept the crowd entertained with his own unique brand of comedy. Each act paid their own respectful tribute to Whitney Houston and the crowd joined in signing along to her hits. The night ended on a high with the entire crowd on both levels doing the Electric Slide to Cameo’s Candy.
It was a fantastic way to spend a Sunday evening, kudos to the promoters.