I almost didn't go. Till I got the email from Muddy Waters advertising $10 off the ticket price. Funny what ten bucks can do to the brain. So I purchased. This was my second time attending a concert by myself, and I must say, I'll be rolling dolo to more concerts in the future. I bonded with the folks sitting on my row (also rolling dolo) and ran into some old friends.
Did I mention that this concert was on Valentine's Day? Some may see that as a reason to get all depressed, or assume that I was bitter with all the boo'ed up folks who were definitely getting some that night. I wasn't. I was just happy to be there. After the fact, I even realized that I was sober the whole time. Turns out, I didn't need anyone's company—human or liquid—to have fun.
Back to the show. The host for the evening was Jodine, and her dress was to die for. She got right into it and brought out the first act, Rudy Currence. Clearly raised in the church, Currence sang, played the keyboard, and impersonated his way into my heart. I'll be checking for him in the future. His song, "Weave Ponytail" is quite a gem. With lyrics like "Your extensions look so real/ Girl, you're so convincin'/ And did I mention/ You got my full attention/ I'm for real/ You got my heart racin'/ Every time I touch your kitchen," Currence proved that he's clever enough to put a unique spin on the things that we women do in the name of beauty. Kudos, Rudy. Kudos.
Next up was Rahbi. I'd seen him perform once before, so I was prepared for a high-energy spectacle with the vocals to match, and he delivered. This performance was actually a bit more subdued than the other one that I'd seen, but it was still a jaw-dropper nonetheless. At one point, Rahbi bent so far back I swear his head touched the ground, then twirled around, jumped off the stage, and stood in one of the audience chairs. While singing. Well. His set ended with a tribute to Teena Marie featuring his amazing background singers and Madame CJ. I'm sure he captured quite a few new fans tonight.
Then it was time for the main event. Bilal stepped onstage and began his show with "Somethin' to Hold Onto." In this moment, I realized I was a plum fool for allowing finances to to get in the way of this kind of experience. This man's voice does more than singing; it truly is a vessel for the creative spirit to flow through. He blew my mind so many times that night, with the highlight being "Sometimes" (of course). That eargasm lasted for more than 11 minutes, and I recorded all of it on my phone. Which I have listened to several times since. He didn't sing my favorites from Airtight's Revenge, but I was nowhere near being disappointed.
At one point, he and his band walked off the stage as if they were done, but I knew better. Side note: Why do people leave when performers do that? You know they're just playing with you. Jodine coaxed him back out, and he gyrated, thrusted, and sweated his way through several more songs, including "Soul Sista" and his cover of "Tainted Love," to all of our delight. I can't say enough about how amazing of a performer he is. He's dramatic, playful and simply insane (in a good way). His voice is something to behold, and this is an experience worthy of busting your budget. It was a no-frills show, where Bilal and his amazing backing band took center stage. It didn't need dancers, rehearsed drama or dramatic lighting to be memorable. If he's ever in your city, I strongly encourage you to check him out.