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Derrick Dunn

Ne-Yo with Mario & Pleasure P @ TD Pavilion

The TD Pavilion in the City of Brotherly Love was graced with Ne-Yo’s Champagne and Roses Tour, which highlighted the exceptional talent of one of the most remarkable contemporary songwriters, on Sunday, September 17th. Supporting Ne-Yo on the tour were fellow R&B crooners Pleasure P and Mario.

Pleasure P took the stage around 7:45 to an energetic crowd. Throughout a brief set, Pleasure performed hits from his 2009 solo debut, including “Boyfriend #2”, “Under,” and “Did You Wrong.” Naturally, P took it back to his Pretty Ricky days performing “Grind On Me,” Your Body,” “Juicy,” and “On The Hotline”. A personal highlight of the show was seeing Pleasure pay tribute to his mentor, the late great Static Major. While he lacked a band, Pleasure P more than showed he has enough stage to headline a club tour.

Baltimore native Mario was next and took the stage in a red leather outfit. Since discovering his vocal prowess in 2002, I’ve always felt that Mario was one of the best young crooners to come out of the early 2000s. Mario had a tight set, running through fan faves such as “Just A Friend,” “Break Up,” “C’Mon,” and “Braid My Hair .”However, the ballad portion of the show was my favorite as Mario effortlessly sang his way through “How Could You,” “Crying Out for Me,” and “How Do I Breathe.” Mario closed his set with his signature song, “Let Me Love You.”

After a brief delay, it was time for the man of the hour. Ne-Yo’s show opened with an AI welcoming the crowd to a musical planet. Ne-Yo entertained the crowd for over ninety minutes by sporting a sleek red suit with a matching fedora. Throughout his seventeen-year career, Ne-Yo has amassed many hits, most of which were on his setlist.

The show started with a powerful duo of songs, “Closer” and “Because Of You,” the hits kept coming. The crowd enjoyed timeless favorites like “Sexy Love,” “Single,” “Champagne Life,” and “She Knows,” which were all featured in the setlist. Additionally, Ne-Yo threw in album tracks like “Telekinesis” and “Mirror,” much to the delight of the audience.”.

There were two notable parts of the show. Firstly, a surprise guest appearance was made by Peedi Crack, a Philly native, who joined Ne-Yo for a performance of “Stay .”Secondly, Ne-Yo paid homage to the choreography of New Edition and Troop when performing “Handle Me Gently.”

The night’s entertainment wouldn’t have been complete without Ne-Yo’s soulful ballads. I’m a fan of slow jams and ballads, and I was hoping to hear “Religious” and “Good Man” in his setlist. However, these songs were left out. Nevertheless, Ne-Yo’s performance of his first solo hit, “So Sick,” still sounds as good as it did in 2006. He also delivered passionate renditions of “Do You” and “Mad,” which were equally impressive.

Ne-Yo’s swan song, “Time Of Our Lives,” turned the TD Pavilion into a lively party. I had previously seen Ne-Yo live earlier this year, and he never disappoints with his musical abilities. If you have the chance, see him perform live!

Final Grade: A-

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Slow Jam Saturday: The Whispers, “I’m Gonna Make You My Wife”

Yesterday was the sixteenth anniversary of my marital union. In honor of this occasion, I have selected a song for this week’s Slow Jam Saturday that celebrates the sanctity of marriage. While I considered several options, such as Robin Thicke’s “Angels,” Luther Vandross’ “So Amazing,” or Myron’s “Give My All to You,” all of which played a significant role in my wedding, I ultimately decided on The Whispers’ “I’m Gonna Make You My Wife” due to its particular resonance with me.

Second Listen Sunday: B5, Don’t Talk Just Listen

For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I took a trip back to 2007 and revisited “Don’t Talk Just Listen” from the group B5. Hailing from the Peach State, B5 comprised the Breeding Brothers, Bryan, Carnell, Dustin, Kelly, and Patrick. Initially finding success two years earlier with their cover of The Jackson 5’s “All I Do,” their debut did just enough with their preteen fans to warrant a second album.

Slow Jam Saturday: Jagged Edge, Whole Town’s Laughing At Me

With the exception of a few cases, R&B groups experienced a period of stagnation in 2007. While some groups continued to tour and perform their renowned classics, releasing new music was infrequent. To commemorate this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I would like to acknowledge a notable piece from Jagged Edge’s sixth album, “Baby Makin Project,” titled “Whole Town’s Laughing At Me.”