Maxwell’s “Night” Tour Forged A Total Eclipse Over The Entire DMV

 

Photography by Mike Ware

Three hours, three power house vocalist, and over three decades’ worth of sultry hits…all combined, that’s what you call The “Night” Tour.

More than halfway into its run, Saturday, April 2 saw the concert tour headlined by Maxwell, Anthony Hamilton and Joe finally make its ascent to the DMV area for a packed out night at the Capital One Arena. Since the tour’s original announcement back in November of last year, fans of all billed artists had been eagerly awaiting this day. DC traffic was at an all-time worst, with backups lasting for blocks and streets near the venue being blocked off, causing many concert goers making a mad dash to their seats by the ticketed start time of 7 PM, which held true as Joe Thomas took the stage promptly at 7:05 PM.

Photography by Mike Ware

Taking no prisoners and going right for the jugular from the beginning, Joe opened up his set with the remix to his 2000 hit “Stutter“, granted anything but stuttering is what Mr. Thomas did as he appeared to be at the top of his game, sounding like perfection. For the next thirty minutes, he left every bit of anything that he had all on the stage, digging into his crates of music performing all of the tracks that we’ve sang along to, including “The Love Scene“, “All the Things (Your Man Won’t Do)“, “Faded Pictures“, “More & More“, and a Latin infused version of “Still Not A Player” just to name a few.

Albeit the general public may tend to think of Joe as an underrated artist, to the core we feel that they need to put more respect on this man’s name as he’s long been a mainstay in R&B music. His closing performance of “I Wanna Know” gave all of the revelation to that when the bowl of the arena yelled the words from top to bottom.

Switching lanes from contemporary R&B to more of a down home, southern style, “soul food” based variant of the genre was the inclusion of Anthony Hamilton. Anytime that we’ve seen this brother in concert, it’s been like attending church service…going in one way and then leaving feeling like you’ve been touched by the Holy Ghost. While on the subject of church, let’s get into his custom, burnt orange suit that was designed by D.C. native Timmy Ajulo. The ensemble, which fit him like a glove, incorporated his own personal style and could be sported for various purposes.

Photography by Mike Ware

Opening up his set in one of the most swagged out ways possible, he and his band walked out to an instrumental set of “International Players Anthem (I Choose You)” before breaking out into “Cool“, from his 2008 album “The Point of It All“. From that moment on until the end of his set time, he seamlessly transformed even the biggest naysayer, into an Anthony Hamilton fan, if only temporarily. It’s absolutely hard to deny his hits, and find yourself tapping your foot to “So In Love“, “You Made a Fool of Me“, “Love Is The New Black” and “Comin’ From Where I’m From“.

While in to the groove of his own music, he asked “where all my steppers at?!” as “Best of Me” was soulfully presented.  There was no surprise that the last impression that he left was from an extended version of “Charlene”. The only thing that I was a bit disappointed about was the absence of his all male trio background singers, The Hamiltones, who he helped bring to the spotlight and have toured with for years.

As the name of the tour suggests, we were now more than well into the night, and everyone was eagerly awaiting Maxwell close things out. Fog filled the stage as the band played and built up the anticipation, and as the climax reached, the introductory hi hat hits for “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” kicked in, and out emerged the king. Dressed in a black suit jacket that was encrusted in fragmented glass, you immediately got the sense that this current show was dedicated to his Day 1 fans, as he exuded old school feels complete with his signature fro and glasses.

Talk about a show packed chock full of hits, it was as if we didn’t have enough time to go thoroughly into all the material that Max has released, and due to time constraints, his setlist was just barely scratching the surface of his catalog. New life and synergy was breathed into his earlier hits “Lifetime“, “Fortunate“, and “Stop The World“, while maintaining the integrity of the new classics that were helmed by the “grown and sexy” version of himself. A six-minute rendition of “Pretty Wings” was likened to a fairytale, “Bad Habits” still has that spine tingling, sensual punch that it’s always had and “Fistful of Tears” is just as thought provoking.

Back in the day when he embarked on his first tour, it made sense that his fan base were in their early 20’s. Now, 20-plus years later, those same fans are in their 40’s and still swaying to his smooth vibe. He actually probably personally remembers those fans, as he recalled of a time when he sold out several nights at DAR Constitution Hall in the 90’s.

The intoxicating performances of “Lake By The Ocean” and “Get To Know Ya” was more closely dedicated to the women in the audience by showcasing his hip whining skills as he performed, and paid homage to his Caribbean roots. During the midst of the show, Maxwell stopped to remind us that on that specific date, we were celebrating Marvin Gaye’s birthday, which held significant value for the fact that we in Gaye’s hometown and he had been previously referenced as “the Marvin Gaye of the ’90s”.

More often than not, artists who are almost thirty years into their careers tend to have an “air” about themselves that gives off a sense of being untouchable, but it’s refreshing to see that Maxwell is a genuinely humble to the core, and it shows in how he treats both his fans and cast mates. “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” played as a friendly sing-a-long with the crowd, who ended up finishing the song. The music wouldn’t be possible without his band family, and gave them their own shine at the end of “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever“, including the beautiful LaTina Webb, that held him down on vocals the entire night.

Of all the times that I’ve had the opportunity to see Maxwell in concert, he never disappoints, and the 2022 Night Tour was no different.

Check out the amazing photo gallery captured by Mike Ware.

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  • Goodnight Tour Looking Forward To The Tour Day In The Chicago Area My Prayers Are With You On This Amazing Tour Stay Safe And Please Remember Your Health Is The Most Important

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