Johnny Gill & Ralph Tresvant
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Derrick Dunn

MGM’s National Harbor Soulful Night with Johnny Gill & Ralph Tresvant

Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant owned the stage at The Theatre at MGM National Harbor on Saturday March 7th, 2020.  Known as two of the signature voices of the legendary music of New Edition, the duo is currently touring the country in promotion of Gill’s latest album, Game Changer II.

Ralph Tresvant, known as the front man of the legendary group New Edition, took the stage first with a bonafide swagger. Taking the stage in a cream-colored suit with a matching fedora, Tresvant alluded style.  Beginning his show with “Yo, Baby, Yo,” it was apparent that Tresvant hasn’t lost a step. Throughout his quick twenty-minute set, Tresvant once again displayed why he’s the best front man of any group from his generation.

Some of the highlights from Tresvant’ s set were his solo hits “Money Can’t Buy You Love,” “Rated R,” and the New Edition staples “Cool It Now” and “Candy Girl.” Before closing his set with his signature song “Sensitivity,” Tresvant gave the audience a solo performance of New Edition’s “If It Isn’t Love.” Without a doubt one of the most memorable choreographed songs in the group’s catalog, Tresvant’ s solo performance of this hit went off without a hitch.

D.C. native Johnny Gill was up next, and unlike Tresvant, Gill took the stage in more casual attire.  Gill’s portion of the show began with his hit “Fairweather Friend.” With a live band and electrifying dancers backing him, Gill wanted to give his audience their money’s worth. However, given that Gill is a balladeer as opposed to a dancer, he has better results focusing on his slower material as opposed to the up-tempo material. That’s not to say that Gill shouldn’t dance during his show, as his band creates an infectious groove with their musicianship. Gill is better off doing a 2-step than attempting to pop & lock.  I was grateful when Gill stopped dancing and made the wise choice to show off his instrumentation skills when he played the drums and congas.

Eventually, Gill made his way into the ballad portion performing fan favorites such as “Lady Dujour,” “There U Go,” “It Would Be You,” and “Let’s Get the Mood Right.” Tresvant then made a reemergence on stage to perform the legendary ballad “Can You Stand The Rain” with Gill and remained on stage backing Gill vocally for the duration of the show. Gill closed his set with a one-two punch of his signature songs “My My My” and “Rub You The Right Way”.

My only complaint of the night’s show was the omission of a few songs. I would love to hear Tresvant do a snippet of “Do What I Gotta Do” and “When I Need Somebody,” while Gill could’ve given the audience a piece of “Long Way From Home”. Nonetheless, when Gill announced that Tresvant is due to release a new single this coming April, it made up for all the song omissions.

Naysayers may think that R&B is dying, however with a stage presence and a lively set list to the appeasement of their fans, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant continue to show it’s alive and well.

Final Grades

Johnny Gill: B

Ralph Tresvant: A-

Overall Show: B+

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