Archive for Alicia Keys

Am I Not Entertained!?!

Posted in Entertainment, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2008 by Rick

There are few things I love more than music and even fewer things I enjoy more than great music performers. It is rare to catch truly memorable performances which is why I like to record award shows and skim through the fluff in hopes of catching a transcendent performance to restore my faith in modern music and entertainment. With that goal in mind I watched portions of this year’s American Music Awards and I have to say the search for transcendent performances continues. But here are a few things that struck me.

1. Beyonce is hands down the best performer/entertainer of this musical era. My wife and I agree that I limit the amount of Beyonce performances I consume. I’m fine when she sings, I’m okay when she dances but I am smitten when she does both. I have yet to see her perform “Single Ladies” in it’s entirety.

2. Neyo is growing as an entertainer. He is lauded for his song writing but I see him trying to really give people quality performances. He’ll be limited because he doesn’t have the broad appeal of JT and Usher but he works hard and I appreciate that.

3. Alicia Keys writes some good songs, is a good piano player and have a nice voice, that doesn’t qualify her as a genius (musical or otherwise).

4. Pink grates my nerves. She can sing, she is pretty, she writes catchy songs but her arrogance, misandry and hyper-feminism make me dry heave every time she’s on screen.

5. Kanye West is an internally tormented, genius of an arrogant jerk. I love his new album though.


New Kids On The Block should not be allow back into the pop limelight. Fourty-year-old dudes should not be skipping across stages with faux-hawks and goatees, wailing falsetto tales of meeting girls in clubs and dirty dancing. I’m most disappointed with Donnie Wahlberg who carved a nice niche for himself as a Hollywood B-lister but still found it necessary to embarrass his 16-year-old by stealing his hair style and grabbing his crotch on stage. It’s amazing how the music industry will reject talented acts that start in their 30’s but they will bring former acts back in their 40’s even though the glitter looks more like dust (New Edition). What music genius thought it a good idea to put the New Kids with New Edition for a sexually charged pop single? Please let it die!


Keys to the City…of Memphis!

Posted in Concerts, Entertainment, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2008 by Rick

My wife and I had a ball last evening at FedEx Forum as Alicia Keys came to Memphis. We enjoyed a nice dinner at Flying Fish Memphis and headed to 3rd and Beale to be entertained. Some folks that care a lot about my family and I blessed us with great seats to the show. Some other folks that we care a great deal for took our 15-month-old, Jaxon, off of our hands. We were still left with one baby but she’s in utero so we couldn’t dump her off on someone else (one day Ashlyn).

We settled in to the pop sounds of Jordin Sparks who constantly reminded us that she was on American Idol. It’s probably part of her contract. Her performance was descent for an opener and an 18-year-old. It was a bit weird that her musicians, who all doubled as background singers, were all male and at least 10 years her senior. All in all the set was good. But in the words of Randy Jackson “dawg…it was just okay for me dawg.” My inner Simon expected more from her at this stage in the competition.

After a brief wait period Neyo took the stage. Though I’m not a fan, I was excited because he had a full band (guitars, several keyboards, horn section) and they were all in nice light-gray suits with black shirts and gray ties. A very clean look that gave the impression that they were there to entertain.  The opening was well choreographed from the dancers to the background singers and musicians. Everyone was moving as Neyo rattled off some non-descript, MJ-esque song. As I watched intently, I drifted into deja-vu as the melodies, dancing, screams, sighs and even the musical production took me back to the early 80’s when Michael Jackson was black and torching the R&B and pop charts with “Off The Wall”. At the conclusion of Neyo’s set I half expected Mike to come up and receive an award after the rousing rip-off tribute.

Finally! It’s Alicia time. The one everyone laid down big bucks or accepted gift tickets to see. Big lights, huge sound, grand piano on a turntable and tight-shiny pants all leading to a good show. Just good. It wasn’t great. I’m sure the broken-hearted faithful that hang on each note to get through the last break-up were not disappointed but casual Alicia fans, yet staunch music lovers, like me were left wondering “So that’s it? That’s what all the hype is about?” Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to love this show. I wanted to walk away saying I had Alicia Keys underrated. But I sat there looking at my watch wondering how much more do I have to endure. It was good music and she performed it well but I was ready to leave saying wow! Maybe I’m out of her target demographic. Perhaps I am a musical snob and only get excited about certain acts. Could it be that I just hyper-extended my expectations? I did miss the Spurs/Hornets game 6 to be there. This was the first big arena concert I’ve been to, in which the headliner did not get an encore request. And I’m glad.

BIG PICTURE! My lovely wife and I (and Ashlyn) had a great time being friends and enjoying one another. Remembering just what drew us together. I love her so much that I put off blogging about the concert until the next day. That’s gold in my book.

Me and My Baby!