Mary J. Blige Held Queens Court At Her Washington D.C. Concert Stop
Good Morning Gorgeous or Good Evening Beautiful, whichever greeting that you choose to use, they all equally apply.
Sunday night, September 19 the Queen and her royal court caused a bit of pandemonium at the Capital One Arena, when Mary J. Blige pulled up for her long awaited “Good Morning Gorgeous” Tour, sponsored by Hologic and Black Promoters Collective. You couldn’t help but to feel the sheer excitement in the air as I reached the vicinity of the venue and saw a sea of people standing outside waiting to get in. While waiting in line I heard a passerby utter “Is all of this for Mary J. Blige?!” Yes ma’am, it certainly was and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Once the doors were opened, the main concourse of the venue was bustling with people, either dropping stacks on some exclusive tour swag or trying to make their way with haste as not to miss a minute of the show. The femme energy was definitely on 1000 as the ladies were decked all out and dressed to the nines for what we were sure was probably ladies night.
That same exact energy was projected from stage when the first performer of the night made her debut performance at the venue. Queen Naija is a part of the newest crops of R&B belles to emerge onto the music industry, all from being an internet sensation. Although she may be newest artist on the bill out of all the performers, that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t already garnered her own set of fans who were definitely in the building to show their support. Queen kicked opened the set with her latest offering from her upcoming album, the Gold certified single “Hate Our Love.”
For the next 25 minutes she strutted the stage in an electric blue sheer body suit, running down a few songs that I’m sure you’ve heard on the radio before, but may have not necessarily knew that it was her. “Pack Lite” is a song that samples Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” and suggests her good for nothing man pack and tread light while “One Time” was a straight up performance piece with her four female backup dancers. The constant theme throughout was the intricacies of the highs and lows of a young black woman in love, which were really driven home from her final selections. “Medicine” and “Karma” were the songs that first introduced us to her music, but I can guarantee that they were (and still are anthems) for women since they directly refer to getting back at a man after he thinks that he’s run game.
Overall her performance was solid with her angelic like voice riding overtop of her band’s live interpretation of her music. Since MJB handpicked her to be on this tour, I’m pretty sure that there’s some foreshadowing of great things to come in that choice, so absolutely keep your ear low to the ground for her since her sophomore album is set to drop sometime soon.
While the set changeover was taking place, the legendary DJ Kool rocked the mic and the music for his hometown audience, forcing people to get up out of their seats and flip the script from a concert to full on party mode. Attention had now been placed back on the center stage where we noticed that Ella Mai’s band and crew had got in formation for round two. It’s been a few years since I’ve personally seen Ella Mai perform so I was looking forward to her offering since she’s released a few more bops since then, and has further grown into not just womanhood, but also her songwriting abilities.
we had major technical difficulties tonight! to not have been able to perform for you guys is super upsetting and i completely understand your frustration. i am really sorry and i hope to see you soon ❤️
— Ella Mai (@ellamai) September 19, 2022
The house lights went off which caused a roar of cheers from the audience, and then we were just sitting in silence. After about 20 minutes or so of anxiously waiting I noticed her band exit the stage, the lights came back on and her backline being broken down…so this meant that Ella would not be taking the stage without any announcement. She later released a statement via her Twitter page that due to major technical difficulties, she was heartbroken that she wouldn’t be able to perform for the DC crowd.
As not to waste any time, the stage hands went into action to change over into Mary’s set. Following an intro video that was fit for a queen, the legendary artist walked from underneath from underneath and immediately set the stage on fire…literally! She let all of us know what time it was right out the gate beginning with “Amazing,” that took on many different meanings as we know that she’s living her most amazing life right now then transitioning into “On Top” which is the type of song that we love best from Mary, where she talks her ish, saying “who run it?!”. One other thing that stood out as amazing was her custom fit money green Zigman bodysuit with matching knee high snakeskin boots that left her looking like a million bucks. If it’s one thing that MJB is going to do, it’s going to be swagged ALL the way out while she kills the stage.
I’ve seen Mary several times in concert since the late 90’s, but there was just something different about her on the GMG Tour. She exuded this energy and stamina of a goddess, dancing like I’ve never seen her dance before. It was like although this was HER tour, she couldn’t be outdone by the other ladies on the bill and gave stage presence and performance like the rent was due…TOMORROW!
After teasing us with a bit of the new new from her latest album “Good Morning Gorgeous,” it was time for us to take a trip back down memory lane. It’s officially been 30 years since the release of her iconic debut album “What’s The 411?” so in celebration of that, a huge chunk of the first round of songs were the classics that she technically didn’t even have to sing because the crowd handled all of the heavy lifting. “You Remind Me,” “Real Love,” “Changes I’ve Been Going Through,” and “Love No Limit” continues to bring out the immediate feels that we had when the songs originally came out. And let’s not forget the “Mary Dance” (which is now just as timeless as her music) that she put a little remix on, but her diehards already knew what time it was because they bopped right along with her.
As the 90 minute spectacle rolled on, the setlist effortlessly intertwined music from the past, covering almost every corner of her extensive discography, all the way up to what’s in constant rotation on radio today. “Good Morning Gorgeous,” “Here With Me,” and “Love Without the Heartbreak” served as a “restful” moment so to speak as she sat upon her throne as she delivered those songs for the first time in a live iteration. Since it was Sunday, it was only fitting that she took us to church belting out “I’m Goin’ Down” and “Not Gon’ Cry.” Honestly one of the best parts of the show was the fact that she included songs in the setlist that she’s rarely performed or hasn’t performed in years. That’s a clear sign of an artist who is clearly aware of their impact in music and legacy. My only gripe is that she still has yet to perform “Love @ 1st Sight” live in concert since its 2004 release because this is arguably my most favorite song from her….but I digress.
In terms of production value, she upped the ante as well. At first the layout was very clean, just an empty stage before it stated to transform over the course of the night. The band was nestled on a rising platform that originally was hidden out of sight, the pyro package was out of this world, and there were moving stage parts that added to the drama. The dramatic effect that also sectioned the concert off into different acts that we’d like to call “hellfire and brimstone,” “heartbreak hotel,” “island oasis,” and “the rebirth.” Last but not least, we cannot forget the onstage supporting talent. This band was one of her best that I’ve heard, keeping the tempo and pace of the show running like a fine tooth comb while putting a new spin on songs that may ordinarily sound stale after so long and her dancers hyped her up to go harder.
Like all good things that we love, the show had to come to an end and was done so in one of the most self-assuring ways possible. “MJB da MVP” was the perfect closer where she took the time out to give herself her own flowers. The mantra of this entire GMG project is self love and positive affirmations, and it’s clear to see that she took that a step further with her tour since it shows that she’s a woman in full control and living life just fine.
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