Pic Playback: The DMV R&B Music Experience Concert

Saturday, April 1 may have technically been April Fool’s Day, but there were absolutely ZERO jokes in terms of “what them vocals do” at the R&B Music Experience concert that took place at the Capital One Arena. The promoter Global Events Production rallied up some of your favorite R&B acts from the 90’s and jam packed them into a one night only event that was full of good music.

I’m a forever champion of 90’s R&B, so this concert was right up my alley! Whether it was date night or ladies’ night out, you couldn’t go wrong with the likes of Monica, Xscape, Tevin Campbell, Tamar Braxton, H-Town, 112, and Silk. Just let all of that talent I just mentioned marinate in your mind for a minute.

H-Town had the pleasure of opening up the show, and with roughly only 15 minutes to work with, they made the best use of their time. With pulling out songs like “Emotions” and “They Like It Slow“, it was clear that this wasn’t a show for the kids as they made it a little hot and steamy. Even though most probably remember Dino’s voice from the bulk of their songs, his brother Shazam is carrying the torch and sounded really good, so much so that if you close your eyes, you would have thought that it was Dino was on stage. They couldn’t leave without performing the song that put them on the map, “Knockin’ Da Boots.

Silk is a group that we haven’t seen in years, so it was a pleasure seeing them making their way back into the touring circuit and limelight. They walked out asking “are you ready for Silk tonight?” as they smoothly slid into “Lose Control,” which still proves to be so organic, so sensual, so beautiful after all of these years. Lil G and Jon Jon were still killing it vocally as if it were 1993. With songs like “Meeting In My Bedroom” and “Freak Me” it very much so felt like listening to the quiet storm on the radio when I was a young child.


The fellas of 112 kept the energy of the male group going as they got us out of our seats with the undeniable party record “Dance With Me.” Although it’s only two remaining members in the group, Slim and Mike delivered the anthems that made my high school years memorable. Hearing them perform “Cupid” had me reminiscing about my first real crush, “Anywhere” was a song that I know I had burned to a few CDs to provide a backdrop to endless nights of pillow talk on the phone, and I can remember watching the “Only You” video on The Box.

The DMV hometown girl Tamar Braxton was the first pop of femme energy throw into the show to break up the, at this point, male dominated line up. From the moment that she made her way out on stage to “Hot Sugar,” I noticed that her energy as a bit different that it has been in past performances. It could have been due to the fact that the day of the show was the one year anniversary of her sister Traci’s passing, but she wasn’t completely locked in. There had been a bit of drama leading up to the show, and a lot of people in the audience were waiting to see if she would say anything shady about Kandi and Xscape, and although she took a few shots at them, fans thought that she maybe should have focused more on her own set than worrying about another artist. She concluded with a heartfelt tribute to her late sister during the performance of “Love & War,” where she was visibly and understandably emotional.

Sometimes artists go into the abyss and never come out, only leaving fans wondering where in the heck they have been, and for a while Tevin Campbell was one of those people. We have been singing his songs on social media and in karaoke bars more than he had been, but as of lately, he’s making us put some respect back on his name. Even though he’s a full-fledged adult, he commanded the stage and missed zero beats, just as he did when he initially was introduced to the industry as an adolescent. Leading with “Round And Round“, he showed that he’s pretty much a black national treasure at this point.

Both looking and sounding amazing, he moved effortlessly through his set, which included “Always in My Heart“. It only made sense that he would conclude with “Can We Talk,” which technically he didn’t even need to sing because the audience sang the entire song for him from front to back.

Up next was one of two featured headliners of this event, the ladies of Xscape. Being that this was their first live concert performance since the airing of the Bravo TV show “The Queens of R&B,” all eyes were on them to see if they would be able to deliver through all of the demands that they had been placing, and let’s just say that they lived up to the expectations. They totally had the best production of the night, with the use of LED walls, dancers and fancy costumes.

Each lady sounded cohesively great, and that’s due in part to having all lead singers in a group. If one members is missing the group doesn’t suffer. We can’t help but to address the white elephant in the room, the absence of LaTocha, who has historically been known as the main lead singer. We would have liked to seen her in attendance and thought we would feel some sort of void without her voice, BUT her sister Tamika stepped in and pulled through singing all of Tocha’s AND her own parts with unbelievable vocal control and delivery. Granted it took close to 30 years for her to patiently wait to get her shine, she’s taking this opportunity and running with it. None of the songs “My Little Secret,” “Love On My Mind,” “Do You Want To,” or “Who Can I Run To” felt like they were lacking in any way.

To end the night, Miss Thang graced the stage with only the chilled out, sassy type of swag that she knows how. Shining bright like the rarest cut of diamond, Monica dropped her debut single “Don’t Take It Personal” as the introduction to her headlining set, but we knew that this was live, and not Memorex because the vocals were dripped in a mature coating that her voice has evolved into since coming onto the scene in 1995. Fan favorites “Before You Walk Out Of My Life,” “U Should’ve Known Better” and “Angel of Mine” brought back memories of childhoods that we will never be able to relieve, but can remember just how good those times were based on the music that were associated with them.

Midway through her show just as she started to get into “Why I Love You So Much,” she looked up into the crowd and stopped the music saying “wait a minute, hold on stop. I’m singing a love song, I’m not singing knuck if you buck” in reference to an altercation that was occurring in the stands. “So Gone” ended up being the final song of the night since for whatever reason, her set time got cut short. At any rate, Monica always sounds good and she’s proven that she knows what to do with her gift.


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