As soon as the ferry pushed off for New York's Liberty Island last night and everyone dashed to get a drink and a good spot on the top deck, it was clear that there's not much to complain about when seeing Mary J. Blige perform under the Statue of Liberty, for free. From the generous helpings of burgers and beer to the picturesque views of the New York City skyline over the water, the whole experience—part of Budweiser's Monument Series—was an exceedingly pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening.
Accommodations aside, though, Blige commanded her spot as the star of the show. If there was any doubt as to how captivating of a performer she’d be at this point in her career, her self-possession and confidence on stage was magnetizing. The set was punctuated with cheer-inducing song introductions like, "Can't nothin' hold a good woman down." At several points, she had the crowd chanting “Go Mary” by just looking at them and dancing for a few seconds. And of course there were the tracks to back up all that swagger. Everything she played hit hard, from classics like “Real Love” and “Family Affair” to more recent tracks like “Doubt,” off last year’s The London Sessions.
I left psyched to go home and listen to the rest of that record. After some surprise fireworks on the sleepy ferry ride back, I called my ass an Uber, asked for the aux cord, and was quite happy to do just that.