Courtside seats with your besties, watching your favorite NBA Basketball team give their all on the court, with a guarantee of a musical concert to immediately follow as a gift. Sounds like a fairytale right???…. Well, for DC it has now become an awesome and very real reality. DC’s own Washington Wizards Basketball team has started something FANtastic, called “Friday Night Concert Series”. The kick off for this concert series was this past Friday’s Wizards Vs. Brooklyn Nets basketball game, which the Wizards won! So, this kick off really turned into a celebration that we believe will attract “packed to capacity” basketball games turned music concerts. What a win win scenario!
This unique experience was a larger than life, yet intimate and meaningful situation. Audience members gained wonderful lasting memories that they probably didn’t even expect. At most music concerts there is the stage, a barrier of some kind, and the audience. Usually, only if you have VIP access and/or backstage passes, would you receive extra benefits of interacting directly with the artists. Well, the Washington Wizards have brilliantly struck a gold mine within collaborative entertainment. For years we all have understood music and sports to both fall under the entertainment umbrella but the closest merge of the two in full format, is Football’s majorly marketed Super Bowl Halftime shows, until now that is. The Washington Wizards have answered the musical prayers of many who also love to go to the games, and the opportunity to experience live music to the sports fan who will always choose sports over concert tickets. This combination of two massive elements being offered as a packaged deal, is major and we all are excited about it.
As Concert Daily stood in full view of the stage which was the basketball court itself with no additional heights or inclined contraptions, DJ Quicksilva was exciting the crowd with his awesome skill on the 1’s and 2’s. Hitting every right song at the right time, bringing out the turn up in many of the audience members. You can tell he understands the art of getting the crowd out of comfort zones and open to receive and party with the artists. On the basketball court’s floor, mood lighting and a smoke machine set an intimate vibe, even though we knew we were in one of the largest venues in DC, The Verizon Center. As the host Rodney Rikai walked up to the microphone that was perfectly centered, he introduced the first artist who would perform: Four-Time Grammy Nominated Johnny Gill of New Edition.
Johnny Gill came out and the crowd immediately began jamming, some standing and others rocking heavily in their seats. You could see excitement and surprise in audience faces as they realized how close he was to them. You see, there was a backdrop towards the back of the stage area and it seemed obvious that the artists would stay in the perimeter of the microphone and backdrop. However, an artist like Johnny Gill will interact with the fans. He possesses real skill vocally, has showmanship and is nicely settled within what we like to call: “The REAL Artists, class of actual greatness”. The audience became so hype, that Johnny Gill felt the connection, sang the majority of his songs nestled right in the crowd, and even escorted some of the women down to the stage to turn up and dance with him. Then, before finishing his set, he took his time to walk up to the top rows on each side of selected areas of seating, to hand women roses. As one of the original R&B Crooners to ever do it, Mr. Johnny Gill put on an awesome show and the audience was very excited about that.
Once the Johnny Gill “Up and Close” experience came to an end, DJ Quicksilva #ThePartyKingPin and the host Rodney Rikai took a moment to test the lyric knowledge of the audience, which was fun. Then, it was time for four-time Grammy Award Nominee Tank to hit the stage and embrace the audience. If you have ever seen Tank perform live, you already know that he has no problem whatsoever in the confidence area of his talents and abilities. His delivery and presence on stage is always memorable and awesome.
Tank came out in full performance mode serenading each section of the crowd and even showed some “one on one” love to one of the female event staff employees by sitting on her lap, making her forget she was working for a quick second, as she slid down her seat. With a sexy smirk, Tank turned toward her and said: “Are you ok” with the “I know I just got you feeling hot” look on his face. CLEARLY, TANK IS A LADIES MAN. He also can play the piano and at this part of his show, it was the perfect time to calm things down and also really showcase his vocal ability. However, his sustain pedal for the keyboard did not immediately work and as TECH came out to fix it, Tank began creating a song out of the temporary problem by singing: “Oh Will, Oh Will (The Sound Technician’s name) I need my sustain pedal to work.” This of course ended up being another entertaining highlight of his set and the audience ate it all up, enjoying every moment. Once everything was fixed, the audience broke out into applause, thanking Will the sound technician, and Tank went on to sing his final song before entering into the crowd and allowing fans to get pictures with him.
To have Johnny Gill and Tank on the same show was a great move. They both are great music entertainers with naturally awesome vocal talent. They both are Grammy Nominated and have even been in music groups before. Johnny Gill being a part of New Edition and also being one third of: LSG (Levert. Sweat. Gill), Male vocal group for a moment, and Tank being in the Male Vocal Group: TGT: (Tyrese, Ginuwine and Tank). Overall, it was an awesome start to many more Friday night concert’s put on by the Washington Wizards that will immediately follow their games and serve as a thank you in song format. So, you all must take the time now to purchase your tickets to some of the up coming games featuring this concert series, while you can before they sell out.
This event was presented by: MonsterProducts
Some of the upcoming dates and performers are:
Jan. 6 – Backyard Band, Team Familiar, and DJ Rico
Mar. 17 – Bell Biv Devoe, and DJ Money
Mar. 24 – Erica Campbell and DJ Enya
Just to be very clear, these shows are totally free, but only with the purchase of a game ticket for that night’s Wizards game. For ticket information call 202-661-5050 or visit www.washingtonwizards.com/concertseries.
Story By: @MarquitaCheron
About The Author: Marquita Cheron is a Jazzy-Soul/R&B Singer/Songwriter, Correspondent, Writer and overall Music Enthusiast; who has a love for every positive angle of the Music & Entertainment industry. Simply on a quest to reveal the greatness of amazing artists and their music to the masses, while also being a contributor of it herself.