Erykah Badu Brought Soul, Funk And Good Vibes To The UIC Pavilion


Last night I had the pleasure of
being taken to another state of mind; a state of mind where your troubles are
gone, or at least seen through a different perspective.  Erykah Badu, who in the beginning was coined
as merely a neo-soul artist, has transcended into something beyond any definition created by the
music industry. Anyone who is into music often worries about someone
of whom they listen to switching genres and losing ground with the fans they
started with in the first place.

I have to admit that I couldn't
stay in Badu's world after Baduizm. The albums that followed her first were
good, but they never sounded like the first album she made. Catching her at the
UIC Pavilion with her group The Cannabinoids, it's clear that I avoided her
music for all the wrong reasons.

The universe of Erykah Badu is not simply one you experience in albums. The songs, even from the earlier part of her catalog, not only sound completely different from the originals, they are even better than the original recordings.

A good example of what
I'm referring to is a song like "Apple Tree", which was featured on her first

In the original version, the song
had a more laid-back jazzy feel. When she does it in concert, she speeds the
tempo up and gives it more thunder. The logic of it is mostly because, and this is just my thinking, that
a concert is supposed to be an experience and not merely a place to sit down
and listen to a bunch of songs.

I had originally seen Erykah when
she performed earlier this year at the Chicago Theater. At that point she had
made her hair blond and wore clothing that Jimi Hendrix would be proud of. She
changed it back to black with a couple of extra ponytails while donning a black
top hat for this concert. She sometimes looked as if she could have done the
Moonwalk as she dressed more like Michael Jackson that night.

Sometimes you can tell how good a
concert was by how well the other people interact with each other during the
concert itself. In the section where I was sitting, I notice a couple on the
right of me dancing to one Badu's slower selections. They were middle-aged and
apparently stepping. It was weird considering that most concerts have audiences
clearly focused on the artist on the stage.

Then again, this is what I was
referring to by the power of Badu's concerts. A live performance, depending on
whose performing, can be more about enjoying yourself and the people around you
than about the artist. When that level of success is achieved, an artist's
impression on the world changes from being a mere musician, to being a musician
for the people.

One or two people in the section
that I sat in expected her to play "Tyrone", which she premiered to the world
on her Erykah Badu: Live album. She didn't do that particular tune in this
instance, but I think sometimes you don't need to keep the playlist the same with
every concert. I'm surprised, given how some people were lovely-dovey during
the show, that she didn't play "Kiss Me On My Neck", which was featured on her
Mama's Gun album.

Overall, and this is the most
important thing, I had a very good time and hope others got the same impression
I did.

Apparently Erykah, as she
announced at the closing of the concert, is working on an album with The
Cannabinoids which will come out next year (and I hope this is correct because they work together so nicely on stage). I'm seriously looking forward to
what they have to offer as I think this will give her a fresh new sound and
give me an album worth looking for in 2011.

Side Note:

Chicago Cab companies, including
Yellow Cab, really need to stop this insanity of having no cabs available after
9pm crap. I understand that it's up to the driver that is on duty whether to
take the fare or not, but when most of them WITH LIGHTS ON, start passing
people who don't wanna be out in the cold, one has to wonder what kind of
people wanted to cab drivers in the first place.

Another side note:

I am a big person. If you
happened to be sitting behind me and upset that I stood up during the
performance at times, here's something you may have missed: Most people, even
those with seating farther away from the stage, didn't bother to stay in their
seats very long.

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