R&B crooner Ginuwine returned to his hometown of Washington D.C. on Wednesday, May 8th, for a performance at the City Winery. I have been a fan of Ginuwine since his early work with Da Basement Crew and Jodeci member DeVante Swing. With an eight-album discography that spans a twenty-three-year career, Ginuwine’s song catalog is rich enough for a ninety-minute show. In the past, when I have seen Ginuwine in concert, his performances were sometimes a letdown, given his set time or lack of a band.
The City Winery is a more intimate venue. With Ginuwine serving as the only act, I was optimistic that Ginuwine would finally deliver an exemplary performance that highlights his talent. Thankfully, Ginuwine met my expectations, with his best live performance to date. Ginuwine opened his show with a lively Go-Go jam session. It was the perfect way to start his show, as Go-Go music is the signature sound of D.C. After the Go-Go jam session, Ginuwine performed his 1998 hit “Same Ol G.”
As the night moved on, Ginuwine performed the majority of his hit songs. Some of the highlights included “I’ll Do Anything/I’m Sorry,” Stingy” and “Hell Yeah”. Ginuwine also took time to perform hits to songs where he made a guest appearance, including Nas’s “You, Owe Me” and P. Diddy’s “I Need A Girl Part Two.” One of my favorite moments in the first half of the show was the cover section that Ginuwine did. The first cover of the night was Ginuwine’s version of Prince’s iconic “When Doves Cry.”
Personally, I’ve never cared for Ginuwine’s version, primarily due to Timberland’s production. I felt the production took away from the emotional message of the song. For his first City Winery appearance, Ginuwine made the wise decision to perform a stripped acoustic version of the song. This change not only kept the emotional impact of the song but also highlighted Ginuwine’s pristine vocals. There were also covers of Sam Cooke’s “Having A Party” and Michael Jackson’s “The Lady In My Life.”
After a quick wardrobe change, Ginuwine returned for the second portion of his show, which focused on his slower material. The highlight of the second half of the show would have to be the highlight for me. Ginuwine’s performance of the songs was top notch.
“Differences.” and “So Anxious.” To the delight of female fans, Ginuwine gave out roses and interacted with the ladies in attendance. Sadly, Ginuwine omitted fan-favorite slow jams “None Of Your Friends Business,” “Love You More,” and “Tribute To A Woman” from his setlist.
The omission of songs brings me to my only compliment with the show. This was my fourth time seeing Ginuwine in concert, and I have yet to hear anything from his fifth album (Back II Da Basics) or his sixth album (A Man’s Thoughts). While I understand, time is limited for artists; a medley of some of the songs from these two albums would have been an excellent setlist addition.
Ginuwine closed out the night with a performance of his signature song “Pony.” Twenty-three years into his career, Ginuwine shows no signs of slowing down. The City Winey in D.C. was the perfect venue to show Ginuwine’s maturity and growth as an artist. With his talented band and great showmanship, Ginuwine proved that he is no longer the same ole g.
Final Grade B