Ketan got us tickets. But first lemme tell you how I feel about Brandy…
When Brandy came out I was *not* a fan. I was so dry on her first album and I didn’t think she could sing that well anyway. I thought she looked like ET, had bad acting skills, and couldn’t dance. I thought she had 3 good songs, and that was about it. Then, Never Say Never came out and everybody was on her nutsack and I was still dry on that girl. That album bored me to death and she still couldn’t sing. Full Moon was the first album I truly took notice of, and it was her background vocals that did it. She was doing super-lush, multi-track background vocals that nobody else was really messing with. A lot of her songs had a wall of sound in the background made up of her voice and I was really into all of the arrangement on that album.
Then Afrodisiac happened. That album was and is one of the best R&B albums I’ve ever bought. I still didn’t think she was a strong vocalist, but she knew how to stay in her lane and she knew how good her voice sounded against itself. That album gave me goosebumps so many times. I still have to listen to “Should I Go” in complete silence to catch all of the different vocal lines she’s got.
I’ve been a stan for her ever since. And everything about her is aging so well. She’s beautiful and her voice has just enough character. Even her arrogance has calmed down and I like watching her act. I’m so hardcore Team Brandy.
So Ketan was like “hey, you wanna see Brandy with me? I got two tickets and some free drink coupons and we can cut the line at the theater.” Sounds good to me! Sounds perfect actually. I was so ready.
The day before the concert I was trying to put together a fresh outfit and figure out my hair situation, but then I peeked at the weather forecast and it was completely not going to cooperate with my Aspirations of Flyness. When I was ready to leave for the concert yesterday, it had started to rain. So I pinned up my hair real quick, planning to take it down once I got there. Our ticket said we didn’t have to wait in line, so I figured I’d hop off the train and into the theater before mother nature could soak me down and wreck my world.
Unfortunately, Ketan is not black, so when the box office people told him to go stand in line, he pretty much took that as the last word and went to stand in line. Around the block. And a NYC block is big as hell. So there I was. Standing outside in the monsoon for an hour being Moist and Over It, people walking all in and out of the line not knowing umbrella etiquette and knocking their rain drops in my face with every pass.
But we finally made it in, got some whiskey to get loose, and waited for the show to start. For another hour of course. Some intoxicated hot mess of a latino turned around at one point and said “Why are you laughing at me? Are you talking about me?” This other girl to my left took her shoes off and just stood there on the steps in her socked feet, two different socks that didn’t match, mind you.
It was that kind of concert.
Some guy finally came out to warm up the crowd. I don’t remember anything about him other than his biceps, his guitar, and his knock-off Kem songs, but the second girl….
Do y’all know her? This is Bridget Kelly. Get to know her. She ate that stage UP y’all. And she did exactly what an opening act is supposed to do: she promoted herself, made people interested in her, and got the crowd way hype for the main act. I was pumped for Ms. Norwood by this point.
Then the “radio” came back on playing 1960s soul music and everybody calmed down again. So much for the opening act energy.
But when Brandy finally took the stage, it was like none of that mattered at all. She gave us all the old hits, a Whitney tribute, and her new songs. And she danced. Nothing Laurieanne Gibson choreographed, but she moves SO much better than that awkward “Talk About Our Love” period. It’s really all about the voice though. I think Brandy sounds better live than she does on a record. I feel like I finally appreciate what her voice sounds like now that I’ve heard it so close and without all the studio processing. Shame on me for not being a believer, but that girl can blow! I mean, she didn’t sing “I Have Nothing” and I’m glad she stuck to up-tempo Whitney songs, but Brandy definitely did her justice. Brandy’s old songs sound even better with her more mature voice and I feel like a brand new fan. You really can’t even tell how good she is from watching her live on TV or on Youtube, because I’ve done all that before. She is the real deal though and I’m pulling for her even more now than I was before.
Even though she made me stand in the rain for an hour…