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.