Saturday Night: Alicia Keys at Wamu Theatre


Who: Alicia Keys

Where: Wamu Theatre

When: Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hot damn! Alicia Keys puts all her 20-something peers in mainstream music to shame. Beyonce, Fergie, Rihanna—blech!!! God, don’t get me started on her—have got nothing on this chanteuse.

I love an artist who manages to be commercially successful without losing their musical integrity. At Keys’ show, there was no indecent exposure, sweaty writhing of bodies, or crazy special effects. Sometimes I want to see that sort of stuff. And then sometimes I just want to see someone who can command an audience with a fierce voice and ridiculous piano skills. If any female pop star is going to still be around in 20 years, it will be Keys.

The talented beauty came onstage and performed a couple of her songs on the mic before teasingly calling out “Is it okay with ya’ll if I play my piano for you?” She then launched into a string of her hit singles, including “Karma and “U Don’t Know My Name.” My personal favorite was her awesome rendition of Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore" that actually got a couple hundred of us snapping our fingers. (My dog is trained to recognize snapping fingers as a sign she's done something wrong, so she would have had a nervous breakdown and died had she been at the show.)

ANYWAY, Keys jammed with her band on several songs and I had hoped she would give us a peek at her collaboration with Jack White for the new James Bond movie but sadly, that didn’t happen. It would’ve been nice if she threw in some relatively unknown material, as I embarrassed the hell out of myself and annoyed everyone surrounding me by singing along. It's cool when fans want to sing along. But when it's as loud and bad as what I was doing, it's just unacceptable and borderline violence-inducing.

We tried to capture Keys concert conclusion in which she sang her Grammy Award winning “No One” on my companion’s cell phone. Unfortunately, we finally played it back this morning and all you can hear is my hideous baying of “No onnnnnne… could get in the way of what I feel for youuuuuuuuuuuu…”

“Way to ruin the song,” she said in disgust. I hung my head in shame.

Aside from my destroying what potentially could have been a good live performance clip, the evening was simply classic. Keys killed it onstage. Even my dad was a little envious. “I like some of her stuff,” he informed me. Huh? This is a man who loves CREED. I cannot explain the trauma my ears experienced during high school when I lived in a home where Scott Stapp's voice infiltrated every room. Next time Ms. Keys comes into town, I’m taking my dad along with me in hopes that she will sway (okay, destroy) his musical preference.

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