I could no longer hide the feeling I kept getting inside! Every sensual sound wave hitting my ear quickly forced me out of my seat and totally made me forget about my surroundings. All of a sudden, my hips were rocking back and forth and any nerves I had, disappeared. A sense of calmness came over me and held my focus for the entire night! “50 Intimate Nights Live” DMV Tour Stop was already exceeding desired expectations. No need to warm up! It’s a mesmerizing state of mind when music can infiltrate your heart, inspire your mind and make you feel a deep connection through the soul! The level of strength in one’s talent to manifest such a reaction has to go beyond just the ability itself. It can only access your vulnerability when it’s fueled by an authentic passion! Artists who get you to this point are incredible by design, not manufactured through technological invention.
Walking into the brand new Theater at MGM National Harbor was wonderful as I prepared myself for a journey I’d been craving to experience since its opening. This night would be the first of many to come regarding the venue, and finally experiencing Maxwell live in person was definitely the icing on the cake! My excitement level was through the roof! High ceilings, velvet thick cushioned wide seating with legroom and the perfect view of the stage. Oh my goodness, I had to pinch myself to confirm the reality I was in. As the dimly lit atmosphere wrapped its warm mood lighting around the crowd, bringing them to that grown and sexy vibe, I set in awe and antsy excitement thinking to myself, this all solidifies the necessary relaxing unwind, any hard worker deserves to treat themselves to every once in a while.
Appearing first and in diva glam, a blissful breath of fresh air, we all know as the beautiful and stunningly talented Marsha Ambrosius, sashayed onto the stage wearing a two piece electric blue sequenced jacket & pants set, with a black bustier, and neck length ombre’ honey blond curly kinky hair, that complimented her facial features very well. Her main accessory, her Yamaha MODX8 Synth Keyboard that clearly was an extension of the fabulousness we were seconds away from experiencing. As DJ ERA (Marsha’s Official DJ), held her down, you could close your eyes and would believe a band was live on stage with her. That is how in sync they were. Her first notes were the equivalent of quenching your thirst, immediately refreshing. The vibration of her strong, soprano, sultry voice, hit the audience and there began the musical trance. Heartfelt songs were performed effortlessly, such as: “Butterflies” which was initially inspired by a crush Marsha had on a McDonald’s employee that eventually took on a life of its own and set her career on fire once it was heard, loved, and recorded by MICHAEL JACKSON!!! She also gave us some of “Best Part” by: Daniel Caesar ft. H.E.R. Then she hit us with her hit song “Far Away” from her “Late Nights & Early Mornings” Album. Just to set us up for her heartfelt current single off of her new album “NYLA” called: “Old Times”. Within this song she took us on a precious journey that lyrically details the loving need of the African American male just making it home safely after going out into the world daily. The Music Video further expresses the flash back thought process one has as they hope their loved one makes it home safely, while simultaneously having unwanted mental flashings of the unfortunate what if’s, and how quickly that scenario can hit home and we end up with another hashtag. As powerful as this song is alone, while performing it live, she chose to add in a little Smokey Robinson and Prince, which took everything to a real grooving matter. Then she performed her newest single “Flood” and killed it, emoting so much depth of emotion as she delivered difficult melodic phrasing that really showcased her vocal agility and control. Her entire set felt so good and therapeutic as we all could relate to her music and connect with her vibrant personality. All of which, makes her musical talent vocally, song writing and instrumentally sparkle, and make major long lasting statements in this industry and overall.
To know you can turn to artists like Marsha Ambrosius and Maxwell for musical expression is a blessing. Nowadays as an avid music connoisseur, it can become hard to find a real dose of musicality in music in general. Genres have crossed so much that the authentic point of reference has somewhat gone missing. On the other hand, when it can be identified it somehow becomes type cast as old sounding, boring, too deep and long. This split theory can become draining, as we function in a world where the majority praises turn up, up-tempo, looped, rhythm driven tunes without maintaining any respect to variation! The issue is that, loss of melodic phrasing beautifully aligned with rich chord progressions that journey through progressive thoughtful rhythmic patterns that make the lyrical content stand out with meaningful messages, are no longer a priority. The fact that this very argument could sound biased, proves the ideology of the drought of variation in music, especially Soul. Thus creating a sense of drag and unimportance when everything is catered to the turn up while only a few mid to slow tempos get regular radio rotation. Artists make their money through collection of royalties but they really make their most significant connection this way too. A call for balance is necessary, for its important affect of repetitive play, steers the influential minds a certain way. So variety equals structure to me, in terms of the necessity of music’s meaning in everyone lives today! Plus, the more artists and songs are pushed, the more likely they will be able to come to a city near you and you know about it.
I know this may seem like a rant however, true artists that do what they love, not for fame and fortune, actually move within this industry differently and all of the above really really matters in the movement of their greatness reaching the masses. This brings me to the immaculately talented, handsome MAXWELL! Maxwell is our modern day combination of trailblazing artists who laid those significant guiding pathways so the legacy of great music, musicianship, artistry and passion for the craft can not only continue but also expand and innovate. I believe that Maxwell is the epitome of exactly what a Smokey Robinson, Quincy Jones and others who directly had their hand in the stirring pot of what we understand great music to be, had in mind whenever they discuss their expectation of the next generation carrying on such a magnificent torch! What I personally experienced from Maxwell Live performance was an extreme level of impressive showmanship. This intelligent man exudes such a passion for his craft; it ignites the entire venue in musical solitude! Every single element is taking serious, down to the nucleus of the seed of inspiration every song and note derived from! Therefore, he isn’t trying to keep up with the demands of this industry. He instead moves at his own pace and creates authentic, timeless masterpieces! He does not punish his creativity with time constraint or worry of relevancy! In turn, he is one of the only ones who can be out of the lime light for years and choose to come back front and center and have everyone packed at his shows. All while still moving smoothly, wisely, and on his own timed and strategized grind.
Right before he began his set, he made sure to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin by pumping up the house sound and blasting a couple of her hits, one being “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”. Then without notice the lights flipped to black and it seemed like we were floating in a galaxy of stars, looking at the earth as this amazing band began to play an alluring tune that sound familiar but was enhanced with a mastery of arranged progressions. While amazed by that, the centerpiece of the stage began turning. It went from looking like the earth to looking like the moon once completely turned around. In the center of this moon stood Maxwell and of course, everyone went wild. Screaming and coming out of their seats and rows, the women clearly fell smitten of this soulful crooner. Maxwell let his sexy out and the women were being triggered by his undeniable swag! I really didn’t understand the reach of seduction Maxwell had until the combination of the above swayed me out of my seat. He was working some real hypnotizing skills this night. He got everyone out of their shells and probably made some love connections occur, as he was schooling the men on what to say and do during his songs. If the men were humble enough to take note, they probably won over some hearts this night.
Back to back, Maxwell was giving us his all vocally, and made sure to make it clear that he was actually singing from the heart without any auto-tune or lip syncing. His smooth dance moves reminded me of James Brown in regards to him using them to direct the amazing band who all moved as one and complimented his every note and intended motive of effect! I couldn’t get enough of the lighting, the stage set, the crisp sound, and the overall intimacy of the occasion. Every song poured from Maxwell like liquid gold: “Pretty Wings”, “Bad Habits”, “Fortunate”, “Lifetime”, “Till The Cops Come Knocking”, “Lake By The Ocean”, “Fistful Of Tears”, His new single “SHAME” off of his fourth coming album: “BlackSummer’sNIGHT” (The third piece of his album Trilogy), and many more bangers! The magical night ended with him graciously bringing all of his band members to the front of the stage and allowing them to take the mic and introduce themselves: Shedrick Mitchell (Pianist/Producer), Travis Sayles (Keyboardist/Organist/Producer), Latina Web (Backing Vocalist/Singer – Songwriter), Hod David (Guitarist/Producer behind many of the hits from Maxwell that we love.), Jon Jon (Bassist from St. Louis Missouri), and Darryl Howell (Drummer/Producer). I cannot speak enough great things about these highly skilled musicians! Also, I must mention and shout out the amazing skill the music producer of the overall live show Mitch, exhibited as well. All of their talents were beyond comprehension. You can tell Maxwell wanted everyone to leave with the experience on their minds but especially respect for those who made the experience even possible. Round of applause to him for that! This is how you celebrate your 20th Anniversary of an album that changed the course of your life. You re-release it with a bang. Long live “Embrya”, initially released in 1998. It has made its comeback with a fresh twist in the form of “Luxury: Cococure: The Syndrome EP” – a suite of mixes from “Embrya” available now on Spotify, Apple Music and all DSPs. Re-released on September 28th, 2018, it is written and produced by Stuart Matthewman and Musze Media w/ unreleased images by Mario Sorrenti included in a 12 page booklet.
We here at Concert Daily were very satisfied with everything about this tour and highly suggest everyone gather up their friends, significant others and family to attend the tour in a city near you. Let this article and visuals entice your curiosity and persuade you to go, because it’s just that amazing!
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.
50 Intimate Nights Live Tour Dates:
Sept. 27 – Richmond, VA @ Altria Theater
Sept. 28 – Durham, NC @ The Art of Cool Festival
Sept. 29 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Oct. 2 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Heinz Hall
Oct. 4 – National Harbor, MD @ The Theater at MGM National Harbor
Oct. 5 – National Harbor, MD @ The Theater at MGM National Harbor
Oct. 6 – Baltimore, MD @ MECU Pavilion
Oct. 8 – Norfolk, VA @ Chrysler Hall
Oct. 9 – Charlotte, NC @ Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Oct. 10 – Augusta, GA @ Bell Auditorium
Oct. 12 – Atlanta, GA @ State Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
Oct. 13 – Jacksonville, FL @ Moran Theatre at Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts
Oct. 14 – Mobile, AL @ Saenger Theatre
Oct. 16 – Orlando, FL @ Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Oct. 17 – Hollywood, FL @ Hard Rock Live at the Event Center
Oct. 18 – St. Petersburg, FL @ Mahaffey Theater
Oct. 20 — Huntsville, AL @ Von Braun Center Concert Hall
Oct. 21 – Jackson, MS @ Thalia Mara Hall
Oct. 24 – New Orleans, LA @ Saenger Theatre
Oct. 25 – Memphis, TN @ Orpheum Theatre
Oct. 27 – Irving, TX @ The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
Oct. 28 – Sugar Land, TX @ Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
10/29 – San Antonio, TX @ Majestic Theatre
Nov. 1 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
Nov. 2 – San Diego, CA @ Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
Nov. 3 – Reno, NV @ Grand Theatre at The Grand Sierra Resort
Nov. 4 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Pearl @ Palms Casino Resort
Nov. 8 – Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
Nov. 9 – Oakland, CA @ Paramount Theatre
Nov. 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Microsoft Theater
Nov. 14 – Kansas City, MO @ Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
Nov. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ Stifel Theatre
Nov. 18 – Nashville, TN @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Nov. 20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
Nov. 21 – Minneapolis, MN @ State Theatre
Nov. 23 – Louisville, KY @ Louisville Palace
Nov. 24 – Northfield, OH @ Hard Rock Live
Nov. 26 – Toronto, ON @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Nov. 27 – Montclair, NJ @ The Wellmont Theater
Nov. 29 – Westbury, NY @ NYCB Theatre At Westbury
Dec. 1 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre
Dec. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
Dec. 3 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
Dec. 5 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
Dec. 7 – Wallingford, CT @ Toyota Oakdale Theatre
Dec. 8 – Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theater
Dec. 9 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre