Jill Scott with Anthony Hamilton, Mint Condition, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Doug E. Fresh
Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion, Raleigh
Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011
Kids, when you get older, you'll find that your body won't be as strong and sturdy as it is now. Your knees might get a bit sore when you stand on them a lot. The same thing goes for your feet. Good Lawd, nothing is more painful than standing on your feet for a long period of time.
Apparently, Jill Scott knows this. Since her fan base consists mostly of middle-aged, African-American men and women (or, as we often refer to ourselves, grown-ass people), it appeared she arranged her performance Tuesday night at Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion so that her fans didn't have to stand up all the time. And, for that, we thank her.
As the headliner of a multi-act bill dubbed "Budweiser Superfest Presents Jill Scott's Summer Block Party," Scott performed a nearly 90-minute set that felt more like a lounging get-together than a full-fledged throwdown. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Covered in a spangly, bedazzled periwinkle dress and black leggings, looking like a luscious madam, the voluptuous Scott gave off the vibe of a calm and confident hostess, taking the audience into her bountiful bosom as she belted out tune after tune.
Scott is a commanding presence—her booming vocals can take control of a hostage situation. But she never overexerts herself, maintaining a playful, leisurely pace that prevents her from tiring. The bulk of her set consisted of tunes from her new album, The Light of the Sun, which was released in June. It must've been a half-hour before she decided to dip into hits from her first three albums. But the new songs were good, many of them soulful shots of sista-girl empowerment highlighted by Scott's hellacious, verbally agile vocals.
During that first half-hour, she was briefly accompanied onstage by immortal human beatboxer Doug E. Fresh, who also served as the show's MC/party starter for most of the night. (He and DJ Jazzy Jeff kept the crowd hyped by playing old-school jams during sets.) Before getting into "All Cried Out Redux," the song they did together on The Light of the Sun, Scott and Fresh did a version of "La Di Da Di" with Scott slipping into the Slick Rick role.
Scott brought out Anthony Hamilton to perform the midtempo duet "So in Love," also from her new record. The Charlotte native was by far the most electric performer of the evening. (R&B band Mint Condition also performed, doing a brief but energetic opening set.) Hamilton played for 50 minutes before Scott, clocking off hits and crowd favorites such as "Cool," "Can't Let Go," "Charlene" and "The Point of It All." When he performed a gospel number, he ventured out into the crowd, dancing in the aisles, getting everyone in a church-going mood.
Scott's set finished with a medley of five songs, both old and new. People were about ready to call it a night with that ("Hey, Jill, I gotta go to work in the morning!"), but Scott stepped back out for the obligatory encore. "Where are you going?" she coyly asked the crowd before going into an extended version of "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)," complete with Scott hitting high, operatic notes. She left again after that, but returned to sing "Blessed," from her new album.
The whole show was pleasurable for two reasons: It had Jill Scott and a bevy of beloved black-music performers doing quintessential grown-folks music, and it was a concert that actually condoned sitting down.