En Vogue’s performance is like a Broadway production: A grand stage design, numerous costume changes, choreographed dancing, an orchestra, even some prearranged dialogue–unusual for pop music artists, but tremendously enjoyable.
Humorous and titillating, the fab foursome lived up to its self-described reputation as the “Funky Divas of Soul.” Vocalists Maxine Jones, Terry Ellis, Cindy Herron and Dawn Robinson strutted through material from their two Atco/EastWest albums with high intensity and remarkable vocal prowess, each member capable of lead or perfect harmony.
Interestingly, En Vogue paid tribute to such chaunteuses as Aretha, Chaka, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle and “some of those girl groups, like the Emotions,” with a medley of their hits. The glaring omission of the Supremes could only be attributed to the annoyingly numerous comparisons with that group En Vogue has received of late.
But such perceived similarities ring false. In fact, En Vogue’s display at the Amphitheatre was so impressive, innovative and powerful, that one would be hard-pressed to compare them to anyone. Like true torch singers, they taunt with body and with voice, never actually compromising themselves. A very nice and welcome touch, indeed.
Adding to the performance was the inclusion of male dancers (introduced as New World Order) whose performance was so artistic and theatrical, they could have been moonlighters from Cirque Du Soleil. The members of En Vogue played off the male presence onstage with great aplomb, highlighting their interaction with some delightful tap-dancing by Herron.
Even the finishing touch was beautifully orchestrated. There was no encore, perhaps because one just can’t top perfection.