Wednesday, October 04, 2006

OUT 94-Joe/Nikko Smith/Praiz Concert at Orpheum Review (SAT)

Praiz, Smith share national stage w/Joe at Orpheum
By Ma’at Atkins

St. Louis represented well at The Chocolate Girls Tour that was held last Saturday at The Roberts Orpheum Theatre.

Headlined was R&B recording star Joe who, for about an hour, gave the ladies in the house a romantic smorgasbord of his greatest hits (all segued together) from the opener, “I Wanna be Loved” to his singing in a capella a bar of his slow jam, “The Love Scene.” (It would have been nice if he would have taken it way waaaay back and performed his very fist hot, “I’m In Love.” ). He also sang a few songs from his upcoming CD, “Who?” including his new song, “Where You At.”

He was in top voice this time around (last time he was at the Fox Theatre a few years back he was suffering from throat problems) and, was more personal with the crowd by singing near the edges of the stage and walking down the steps near the center to sing to his fans.

There were no gimmicky –taking-off-shirt-humping the stage moments (which I’m sure would have been fine with the overzealous women who ran to the stage half way into his set), just him and a mike. Although there were no live band accompaniment (he only had two sets of dancers dancing behind him for aesthetics), it appeared those in attendance did not mind of such matter.

It was evident that it was an issue for the singer when he said to the crowd after his set that he would have a live band next time he performs in St. Louis and asked if they liked live music. The highlight of his set was when his No. 1 fan helped him wipe the sweat from his bald head with his towel and joined him on stage showing off her white Capri’s that had pictures of all his album covers on them.

Co-opening act Nikko Smith, however, was more of the performer with the total package (co-signed by host Majic 104.9’s Chas Saunders who said after Smith’s set, “Joe has a hard act to follow. He is out of this world!”) His set was not any way reminiscent of his performance on American Idol. Surprisingly, Smith performed 30-minute set that was reminiscent to Usher-- limber dance moves and on point singing (the chair dancing was very Janet ala “Miss You Much” video)”

His set began when he walked on stage to the mike and sang ac capella the song, “My Song To You” (American idol style”) and then he broke out of the slow mood into funky dance mode with two b-boy dancers and two video vamp dancers grinding up on him with Timberlake’s Like I Love You and “Sexy back” as his music.

Accompanied by a four piece band and dee-jay, Smith introduced his set by saying, “Welcome to the Nikko Smith show 1982” (hinting the year he was born. ) and mostly sang cover songs of other artists; songs (e.g. Rick James’ “Mary Jane”, Mint Condition’s “What Kind Of Man”) he did manage to squeeze in mostly s, he introduced some original songs from his upcoming album including the danceable, “Energetic” and the sexy, “Exotic.”

A funny moment occurred when Smith said after one of his heavy dance numbers, “Before I have a heart attack, I’m going to slow it down.” He ended his set with a rocked up jam, “Gotta Get You Tonight.”

The other opening act Praiz took it to the church as he used his 30 minutes to testify and spread the Word through song. It wasn’t your typical praise song set. He began his set with a funk-rock jam, “I Got Myself Together” accompanied by a Sly and the family Stonish band (comprised of female bassist and saxophonist!).

As far as his testimony, he mostly talked about how St, Louis is coming up as far as talent getting recognized and getting into his Hellish past when he said, “I used to sling dope doing wicked things…then one day I was partying with some friends on the Lansing and got in a terrible car accident and I broke my neck in several places. I was told I wasn’t going to walk again and you’ll be in a wheelchair. I believed that God had a plan for my life. I feel that I must go out into the street sand clean it up.”
Praiz also had a sense of humor by saying, “I am married, with three kids, one on the way. Joe be making some good music. We ain’t making babies out of (my song) “Deliver Me” trust me.”

He also sang his hit, Deliver Me” and featured band members and background singers on his set including his background singer, his cousin Tony Metcalf.

St. Lous trio, MoTre was the warm up act.

If you were at the concert, email me and tell me what you thought of it at and I will posty our comments next week!

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