Friday, April 17, 2009

A Soulful Double Header At MSG

Last Friday, I saw Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke in a double concert at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The two-hour show was a testimony to music’s healing power -- and to Hudson and Thicke’s status as two of R&B’s top singers.

Thicke kicked off the evening with his energetic single "Magic," singing many other tunes ("Sidestep," "Dreamworld) from his sophomore effort, "Something Else." With his silky smooth falsetto voice, Thicke had the audience eating out of his hand as he performed his unique brand of soul infused with elements of hip-hop and blues.

What A Showman: Thicke tickling the ivories during his set at MSG

On songs like "Loverman" and "You’re My Baby," he invited all the lovebirds in the crowd to get romantic. One guy really took this advice to heart, proposing to his girlfriend when the spotlight shined on them.

Other highlights included a cover of "Let’s Stay Together" and Thicke’s first number one hit, "Lost Without You."

After a brief intermission, the lights went down and everyone stood up, applauding thunderously as the sound of Hudson singing "One Night Only" filled the theater. When the curtain finally came up, a stunning all-black clad Hudson had everyone in the crowd cheering.

Jennifer Hudson: Her big, beautiful voice drew multiple standing ovations

I think everyone was in equal awe of her powerhouse voice and her strength in the face of personal tragedy, a tragedy she alluded to only once--

"Are there any New York fighters here?" Hudson asked the crowd. "I don’t know about you, but I’m going down fighting."

She brought the house down with "You Pulled Me Through," dedicating the showstopping ballad to her fans. Also from her self-titled debut, Hudson sang "Spotlight" and "If This Isn’t Love."

Hudson paid tribute to "the divas who came before," performing covers of En Vogue’s "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" and the Whitney Houston classic, "You Give Good Love."

For her encore, Hudson belted out "And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going." Resonating even more than it did her Oscar-winning turn as Effie, the song reiterated the night's theme -- Hudson is here to stay.

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