Wednesday, May 04, 2016

He Believes He Can Fly

It may take me the rest of the year to process everything I heard and saw at R. Kelly’s bizarre outing at the Sprint Center on Saturday.  I hadn’t attended a Kelly concert in nine years, a period in which the Pied Piper of R&B made several essential additions to his vast discography.

The first 30 minutes of his maddeningly inconsistent appearance were so disheartening that I cursed myself for wasting $67 on the cheapest available ticket. My interest grew as the concert became increasingly odd. 

An abbreviated list of Kelly’s foibles: He spent a few minutes watching television from an easy chair (pictured).  A woman in the front row ostensibly massaged his crotch for about a minute (thankfully, my view was obstructed).  After his microphone was wrested away during a foray into the audience, Kelly was propositioned by a self-described “thick midget.”  Kelly had an extended discussion with a drone/blimp.  A video demonstrating his prowess as a trick shot hoop star was screened.  A man with an anemic t-shirt cannon shot objects into the audience.

Kelly’s rhapsodic voice belied these oddities throughout the disjointed show.  He sounded phenomenal even though it was unclear whether he was singing over prerecorded tracks or with a live band.  He paid tribute to Prince by playing a recording of “Purple Rain” as he hung his head.   Prince’s tragic death moves Kelly, a man already known as The King of R&B,  to the top rung of a category I’ll call “Most Vital and Brilliant Veteran R&B Artist.” 

It’s a shame that Kelly doesn’t have someone on his team with the authority to help him properly showcase his immense talent.  Here’s Tim Finn’s review of Saturday’s concert.

I previewed the Middle of the Map Fest’s lineup of Zhu, Vince Staples, Gallant, Ebony Tusks and Blk Flanl.

I talk about music with Steve Kraske on KCUR every Wednesday at 11:55 a.m.

My $40 ticket to the Who was- please forgive me- a bargain, the best I ever had.  It took less than ten minutes for the band to eradicate my ill-placed skepticism.  Here’s Tim Finn’s review.

Terrace Martin’s Velvet Portraits seems to go on forever.  Even so, the best tracks are first-rate.  RIYL: K-Dot, noodling, Curtis Mayfield.

I recently praised Snarky Puppy at There Stands the Glass.  A few tracks on the live session Family Dinner, Vol. 2 tricked me into believing that the collective was more than the 21st century version of the Stan Kenton Orchestra.  I was wrong.  The new album Culcha Vulcha is RIYL: high school band camp, Doc Severinsen, transcribing solos.

My friend S. raved to me about Parker Millsap several months ago.  I joined S. on the young Oklahoman’s bandwagon when I heard  the new album The Very Last Day last weekend.  RIYL: Steve Forbert, next-big-(folk)-things, Greg Brown.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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