Friday, March 7, 2008

Keeping it Real

The Real Thing is confident, feminine and strong. The Real Thing is comical, vulnerable and unpredictable. The Real Thing is talented. The Real Thing is: Jill Scott.

Scott brought her “The Real Thing” tour to the Prudential Hall Theatre at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, NJ on March 5 and 6.

R&B crooner and Newark native, Raheem DaVaughn, opened for Scott. He got the ladies to their feet with songs about how they should be put first and loved all night long. His frequent falsettos sent shivers up their spines as he took to the aisles of the theatre while singing his Grammy nominated hit, “Woman.” After a five-song set, it was time to make way for the main attraction…and an attraction she was.

Supported by an eight-piece band and three back up singers, Scott took to the stage in a low-cut LBD, silver pumps, a burnt orange pinned up hairdo, and looking sexier than ever. She opened the show singing “The Real Thing,” the title track to her tour and her third studio album, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3.

As if that spectacular opening wasn’t introduction enough, Scott took the time to welcome and thank everyone for coming out to see her and reintroduced herself to the Jill Scott concert virgins - there weren’t many. That’s when the Real show began.

After singing “Cross My Mind,” the hit song from her second studio album, Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2, Scott confessed to the audience, “it’s a scientific fact that good dick can cause problems,” referring to the confessional lyrics in “Mind” which tells the story of her reminiscing about a former lover who rocked her world in the bedroom and the temptation to call him. Of course, by the end of the song she remembers she was never good for him and he was never good for her. “He still lived in his mother’s basement and had bad credit,” she amusingly added.

It’s comedic undertones like that, which give Scott’s show a layered, authentic feel. She doesn’t take herself or every song so serious, but doesn’t hide from the songs or issues that strike an emotional chord. “I never thought I’d be standing in front of yall - a divorced woman,” she admitted after nearly breaking down on stage from singing the track, “Whenever You’re Around.” The song is about a woman who has taken up conversation with another man because she feels lonely whenever her lover is around. A clue as to what ended her marriage perhaps?

But don’t cry for Jilly from Philly. “The divorce is old for me. New to yall, but old for me,” said the three-time Grammy winner. “I’m alright. I picked up another Grammy this year, I sold a few records and I’ve got a show on HBO coming out. And its not a reality show either. Success is the best revenge,” she playfully gloated.

As this show of reality steadily continued on, Scott sung fan favorites from her 2000 debut, Who is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, and a few of her favorite tracks from both her current album and 2001’s live double-disc set, Experience: Jill Scott 826+. But she hit a nerve with the ladies when she took on her current single, “My Love.”

The song was inspired by a cheating relationship. “I’ve been the woman and I’ve been the other woman, “ admitted Scott to gasps from the audience. “Yep, I know what yall thinking, ‘oh no she didn’t.’ Well, yes I did. Life’s not a straight path - it bends. And you’ve got to take the ups with the downs,” she preached. While performing the ode to her love, she navigated away from the scripted lyrics to a poetic freestyle of how she really felt: “You came to me all messed up/And I gave you all of my love and fixed you up/And then you left me for her/It was almost like you planned it,” a hurt Scott frustratingly spoke. The women went wild.

By the end of the show, Scott brought the audience to its feet with her Grammy nominated smash hits, “Hate on Me” and “Whatever.” Just when the packed house thought they had seen it all; Scott had a trick up her sleeve. She took everyone to the opera by putting a Luciano Pavorotti-esque twist to her hit "He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)” and then sighed as if the vocal brilliance just displayed were a walk in the park. For her, it probably was.

After introducing her band and back up singers to the audience, the lights came up and everyone started to file out. Only then did Scott run back on stage to the microphone asking to share a piece she jotted down on a napkin in her hotel room the night before. Of course, the audience stopped in their tracks and gladly obliged.

For the first time that evening Scott seemed shy - nervous even - to share her new work. By the second verse, the band joined in and the audience was singing the chorus as if it had been a hit on the radio for years. As the audience sang the chorus, Scott, her band mates and back up singers all did a two-step off stage; Scott being last, took a final bow and blew a kiss goodnight to everyone.

In a time when music lovers are inundated with pretty young things gyrating across the stage - lip-syncing - while performing complex choreographed numbers, you want something different. Something refreshing. Something simple. A band, some back up singers, a microphone and a voice. You want, The Real Thing.

Check out Jill Scott’s tour dates at:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!! I was reading that as if I was there... so wish i could have seen that show!!!!! (sigh) I just know it was AWESOME!!!!!