Review: ‘Erykah Badu’

Erykah Badu (House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $ 22.50) Presented inhouse. Band: Badu, Joyce Strong, Karen Cox, Chonita Gilbert, Charles Bell, Hubert Eves, Norman Hurt. Opened and reviewed April 21, 1997; closed April 22. In her second of three sold-out shows, soul revivalist Erykah Badu delivered a poised yet passionate perf with a naturalness that makes her every word believable. Her 12 -song show is carefully mapped out, though she takes adventurous steps associated with jazz singers --- some scatting, lingering or racing through phrases, and even rapping --- and carefully touches on a wide range of emotions. The epitome of boho chic in a long green leather jacket, exotic bracelets and trademark head wrap, Badu stuck to material from her million-selling debut, "Baduizm" (Universal). Her self-penned songs are awash in realism, and it shows up in her blushing after using an expletive while singing a male-swatting verse about taking a stand with a deadbeat lover. The crowd hung on every word. Badu, backed by a laid-back R&B trio and three singers, proffered stream-of-consciousness musings about the circle of life and an explanation of the symbolism in her top-10 hit "On & On," suggesting she is the rare R&B artist interested more in connecting with an audience than in simply entertaining them.

Erykah Badu (House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $ 22.50) Presented inhouse. Band: Badu, Joyce Strong, Karen Cox, Chonita Gilbert, Charles Bell, Hubert Eves, Norman Hurt. Opened and reviewed April 21, 1997; closed April 22. In her second of three sold-out shows, soul revivalist Erykah Badu delivered a poised yet passionate perf with a naturalness that makes her every word believable. Her 12 -song show is carefully mapped out, though she takes adventurous steps associated with jazz singers — some scatting, lingering or racing through phrases, and even rapping — and carefully touches on a wide range of emotions. The epitome of boho chic in a long green leather jacket, exotic bracelets and trademark head wrap, Badu stuck to material from her million-selling debut, “Baduizm” (Universal). Her self-penned songs are awash in realism, and it shows up in her blushing after using an expletive while singing a male-swatting verse about taking a stand with a deadbeat lover. The crowd hung on every word. Badu, backed by a laid-back R&B trio and three singers, proffered stream-of-consciousness musings about the circle of life and an explanation of the symbolism in her top-10 hit “On & On,” suggesting she is the rare R&B artist interested more in connecting with an audience than in simply entertaining them.

Erykah Badu

House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $22.50

Production

Presented inhouse

Cast

Band: Badu, Joyce Strong, Karen Cox, Chonita Gilbert, Charles Bell, Hubert Eves, Norman Hurt. Opened and reviewed April 21, 1997; closed April 22.
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