Angelique Kidjo

Think Graceland was the best Paul Simon album ever? You’ll love this

My mom and I had braved the wind and cold and were anxiously awaiting Josh Groban’s appearance at Chicago’s United Center (don’t you judge me) when the opening act, Angelique Kidjo, was announced. I have to confess to stifling a bit of a groan. We came to swoon over Groban, he of the Grecian locks and silky tenor. Why did we have to first suffer through some opening act? Kidjo took the stage and immediately began warming up the crowd. There was a little chatter, some heartfelt references to the struggles of her native Africa (Kidjo was born in Benin), and then her sultry alto kicked in. Part soul, with a little light jazz, pulsing African folk, and a dash of rock—that mix took Kidjo from opening act to Grammy darling. She’s hard to pin down, collaborating with everyone from Joss Stone to Peter Gabriel to Branford Marsalis (for you jazzophiles). Now she’s on tour promoting Djin Djin, her latest album, which took Best Contemporary World Music Album honors. I came across one online reviewer who described her as “the Liza Minnelli of Afropop” and found her stage banter a tad pretentious and off-putting. But sometimes it takes a little brash arrogance to put on a good show, and Kidjo does just that, even if she’s not the act you came to see. Moore Theater, 1932 Second Ave., 467-5510, www.themoore.com. $30-$35. 8 p.m. LAURA ONSTOT

Thu., Feb. 21, 8 p.m., 2008

 
comments powered by Disqus