Paying The Piper

April 19, 2006

We'd been tossing and turning in bed for weeks now in anticipation of the show that finally hit Radio City Music Hall last night. Mr Show Biz aka the Pied Piper bka Robert Kelly and his "Light It Up" tour hit town and OH SHIT was it worth the wait. If R Kelly is coming to a town near you, find a way to get your ass in a seat.

Kells started out by running through the hits - or A LOT of them anyway - usually doing just a verse and a chorus before either his DJ or his backing track dropped a bomb and the song ended. "Thoia Thong", "Your Body's Calling", "When A Woman's Fed Up", "Fiesta", "I Wish" - too many to count. One of our friends was going to the bathroom when Robert did "Ignition (Remix)" and we assured her it didn't matter. It wasn't even close to the high point of the night.

Unless D'Angelo gets his act together, R Kelly might just hold The Greatest Show On Earth belt until he himself decides to retire it, largely unchallenged.

Some highlights:

  • At the end of "Feelin On Your Booty", the lights go down. When they come back up, Kells has on a hat, the Pied Piper mask, and a cape. Standing before him is a stand with sheet music. He holds a conductor's wand. The band launches into a huge, orchestral number and - you guessed it - Kells knocks out an opera remix of "Feelin On Your Booty".

  • The lights go down. A brief intermission. The lights come up and a solitary closet stands center stage. The "Trapped In The Closet" video plays the first chapter, then Kells busts out, sans microphone, and pantomimes the next few chapters as the backing track and video play. When he becomes the Chuck character, the crowd goes wild.

  • Another intermission. The jumbotron behind the stage plays footage of Kells and his crew playing their famous late night basketball games at Kelly's gym in Chicago. Dudes exchange heated words. Kells hits threes.

  • Robert teases the crowd for at least five or six minutes, saying his bone is telling him to bring a woman up on stage. Women everywhere go into a frenzy - many of them remain in a frenzy for the rest of the show. Kelly doesn't ever bring anyone up onstage, although he does offer some constructive criticism to one woman who wasn't quite moving her body like a snake right. Note: use less head and neck motion, and divert the energy saved to much more pelvis action.

  • Another intermission, and the DJ plays "Kryptonite", "Laffy Taffy", "Lean Wit It Rock Wit It" and "Fireman" while Kelly's dancers do their thing. Kells reappears for "Fireman" and actually factually dances to the delight of many. Much of the New York crowd leans with it and rocks with it. Somewhere Kay Slay frowns.

  • Kells sings a new song a capella. It's called "The Zoo" and is largely set in a jungle. The hook is basically Kells "oh-oh-ah-ah"-ing, imitating the primate in heat he compares himself to in the song. It may well be the best jam of the night.

  • Much of the last set of the show is for the steppers, and as Kells goes into his final song of the night, "Step In The Name Of Love", a bunch of well-dressed couples emerge from backstage with champagne glasses, gathering around SNL style. They half-heartedly dance. Kells thanks everyone for their support of him over his 15 year career, announces that his next record will be called Makin Babies. There is no threat of an encore.

Posted: April 19, 2006
Paying The Piper