If it is at all possible to OD on concerts, I think I may have accomplished that in 2017. When I tally up the number of concerts I attended in 2017 alone, it outnumbers the total numbers of concerts I attended in the 5 years prior to 2017. It is very possible the reason I attended so many concerts this year is because of the press passes and VIP treatment; but I mean c'mon son, it's VIP.
As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to share a few of my favorite concert experiences of the year. While I would love to tell you how much fun I had watching TLC and Naughty by Nature from the iHeart Media suite or how lit it was watching the Lox smoke out the House of Blues, I'm only going to give you my top five concert experiences of the year.
First up, The Ladies Choice Concert Series! This was the first concert I went to in 2017 and it was definitely one of my favorites. Not only did I get to watch two of my favorite R&B groups, Jagged Edge and Dru Hill, but I got to enjoy the show from the front row! I had a great time taking a stroll down memory lane as these legendary groups breezed through some the hits that dominated radio in late 90s and early 2000s. The only real issue I had with this show was the show's line-up. As the hosts of the evening announced the performers names, the name that got the biggest reaction from the crowd were the opening acts. As much as I like Avant, he doesn't have as many hits as Jagged Edge and definitely wouldn't have been my vote to close the show. Even though Dru Hill would probably win if they had a sing-off, the Baltimore boys just didn't have the longevity of JE. Having Jagged Edge open and Avant close just meant that I got to see who I came to see and still make it home at a decent hour. I won that night!
Back in May of 2017, I was gifted with a press pass to attend The Party Tour, which was headlined by Chris Brown and Fabolous. What a press pass afforded me was a chance to enjoy the show from a fairly close vantage point and take some really nice pictures. The performance that really surprised me that night was O.T. Genasis. Obviously, his music is really energetic, but most artists of this generation struggle with their live performance. Not this guy! He did a good job commanding the stage. Fabolous did exactly what I expected him to do. Seeing as how he was one of my favorite rappers of the last few years and I've never seen him live, I was satisfied with the show. Chris Brown's show was lit. Again, my first time at one of his shows, and I can honestly say I was impressed. Chris proved why he is one of the premiere performers of this generation. The only downside to the evening is that because I was on the floor and so close to the stage, I missed all of the lights and special effects that took place on the actual stage. A friend of mine that was sitting up top could see everything. But, she was sitting in the nosebleeds, so...I'd still call this one a victory!
During the summer, I told myself that I was either going to the Nas concert or I was going to the Jay-Z concert...I was on a budget and I did not think I was going to be able to afford both concerts. Boy was I wrong! As the show date started getting closer and closer, the ticket prices for the 4:44 Tour dropped lower and lower! I mean, this is arguably the greatest rapper of all time we're talking about. H to the Izzo...Big Pimpin'....Hovi Baby! I was able to get a ticket in the 122 section for less than $50. Based on the caliber of artist and the price of admission alone, I would say this show was a grand slam. The fact that Hov put on a great show was just icing on the cake. The only complaint I have on this one is that the time went by too fast. I could have been there for another hour and it wouldn't have bothered me one bit.
This one may come as a bit of a surprise to some people. But I would have to say this concert had me on one! This was another VIP experience this year and I was on my feet for the majority of the evening. I was a little surprised to see SWV open up...I thought for sure they would be the co-headliners for the night. Instead, they kicked off the evening. I must admit, it was a little rough sitting there as En Vogue struggled with sound issues for the majority of their set. Once the sound guy got their mics working, the rest of the night was all uphill from there. Their voices are still amazing! Once Guy touched the stage, the roof almost came off. Teddy Riley is one of the greatest producers/showman I've ever seen. As for Aaron Hall...well, he's Aaron Hall. Many of you know what that means. If you don't...I'd advise you to go to Youtube and type in his name. As for the headliners, no one and I mean no one puts on a show like Bell Biv DeVoe. Not only did they run through many of their own hits, but at one point they even gave the crowd a chance to relive parts of the New Edition catalog. My only complaint here is that I would've loved to hear them perform "All Dat There" or " Don't Go" off their new album. But, I get it. The classics are their bread and butter. I would do this one again, in a heartbeat!
My favorite concert experience of 2017, hands down goes to the PowerNomics Tour featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas. Aside from the fact that I was VIP for the evening, it was my birthday! I can't possibly think of a better way to spend my birthday than to spend it rocking with two of the most legendary artists in hip-hop. Leading up to the night of the show, there was the usual chatter that Ms. Hill would be late or a complete no-show for the evening. So imagine how relieved I was when I arrived at the venue early and could hear L Boogie doing her sound check. So at that point, I knew I was going to be in for the show of a lifetime. Once these two icons touched the stage, the night was pure greatness. I won't go into great detail about the show; if you can imagine what it would be like watching these two on stage, I will tell you it was everything you'd imagine and then some. The cherry on top, meeting the two legends backstage and having Nas wish me a Happy Birthday is a memory I'll carry with me for the rest of my life. Thanks, God!
Remon is a multi-media personality. He is the founder of The Urban Advocate.