Monday, December 19, 2005

The concert was bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

First off, I have to give bug hugs to my girl Dii for pulling of the magnificent feat of getting her and I two free tickets to the Gwen Stefani featuring Ciara concert, with awesome seats (Row G).

The Schottenstein Arena was packed with young girls, older black men and every demographic in between. The fan base mimics Stefani’s music preferences: everything from hip hop to ska punk to classic pop.

Ciara, one of the many vying to be America’s next R&B princess, began the show with lots of energy. Even though Dii and I were late, we could tell she didn’t miss a step as she opened with “Goodies” and performed other hits “1,2 Step” and throbbing “Oh.” If Janet Jackson does in deed have a hidden daughter, Ciara must have been her play cousin. Bow Wow’s girl did her best Rhythm Nation renditions, complete with military movements, countdowns and smoldering looks between her long, wavy hair.

One thing Ms. Jackson can’t do that Ciara never stopped doing is pop her booty like it was going out of style. She hung from the stair well, out-popped her back up dancers and fiecely bounced her booty while keeping a good handle on her singing. Ciara is all female despite rumors and is probably Usher's steepest competition when it comes to dancing, singing and working the crowd. By her next major tour, she will be well on her way to being a well-rounded entertainer, a la’ Janet and her brother Michael.

Stefani was a Madonna-esque chameleon (thanks to rapper Chamillionaire, I’ve totally forgotten how to spell that word) switching between Marilyn Monroe starlet on “Cool,” Material Girl sass on new cut “Orange County Girl” and lead single “What You Waiting For” and Janet Jackson stage presence on second new song “Wind It Up.” Performing every song off of her three times platinum 2004 release Love.Angel.Music.Baby, die hard fans could rock hard with album cuts “Bubble Pop Electric,” Crash” and “Serious” while anybody who watched MTV in the past year could sing the words to songs like “Rich Girl,” and “Luxurious.”

Nearly each song was a costume change as Stefani morphed from beach babe, to surprisingly convincing gangster during her show. She complained of being in a bad mood, which was invisible to the audience, as her voice never wavered and the street-sweet Harajuku Girls foursome pranced behind her. Unfortunately, Stefani didn’t perform any of her No Doubt hits. A medley to show her progressing from ska princess to now would have been a fan treat. She understandably wants to stand on her own music, and does so with all the eclecticness of the pop queen she imitates on her album cover.

Stefani closed the show with her phenom “Hollaback Girl” after leaving the stage for at least 10 minutes as the crowd roared. Complete with a drumline and bandleader’s uniform (which was marked with the word ‘bananas’ going down the back) Stefani brought up several little girls from the audience, all proclaiming, like the rest of America did all summer, that this song was “their shit.”

Even though Stefani may be the most gangster white girl in pop music right now, she’s still a white girl. And though her stage presence rocks, her movements were sort of staccato (they have been since the Eve video) and some of her sass was a little unbelievable. Because of her mass appeal, it would have been interesting to see her change up some of her hits a little. But you can’t wrong when you have an international starlet who can sound just like her record (with no lip sync) in high-energy sets. Stefani is at her best she is being herself and bringing her love for all types of music and cultures to the masses.


At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Quel said...

I really enjoyed your recap of Ciara's performance. I think as highly of her as you do. I totally agree with your "Janet's lost daughter" comments.

I loved Aaliyah. I always felt that Ciara is like a "hood-fabulous" Aaliyah. I was an instant fan when Goodies came out.

Great review. Thanks for sharing.

At 11:12 AM, Anonymous belladawn said...

ciara is ALOT like aaliyah.. & its true guys competin w/usher could learn a few things from her 2..

& as far as white girls go, gwen outgangstas fergie from bep?!

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