I got to the venue late. Yes, I will admit it. I knew I was doomed from the start, though. Getting off work around four or so, I had to drive home, relax, eat, and rest before a concert at seven. I truly understood the issue at hand. Yet, I hoped that the concert started late. By the time I parked and made it up the LONG walkway towards the theater, Anthony Hamilton was crooning “Where I’m Rrom”. Guess it’s time for me to get into the meat of this review.

Anthony Hamilton is a Crowd Controller
If there is anything to say about Anthony Hamilton as a live performer is this: he is a crowd pleaser. With offbeat statements like “I’m saved, but I ain’t gonna save this wine.” and “What y’all got in them (food) baskets?”, Hamilton makes sure to keep the crowd involved. As expected, the people responded. Hamilton was there to give his all to the crowd. The concert goers were there to enjoy some great live music. This was a mutual experience for both parties.

     To say that Anthony Hamilton brought his “A” game would be an understatement. After telling the crowd “We ‘bout to get real country and ignorant”, he went into a rendition of “Down By the Riverside”. The crowd, already enamored and mesmerized by the live rhythms and sultry singing, was in full hypnosis like there was a Godly spirit in the air. It was a full Sunday’s Best party on a Friday evening already hotter than July. The beautiful scene of grown people laying their burdens down and having fun was a grand spectacle to see.

     The good times didn’t stop there, though. Singing “Cant Let Go”, he had hands rocking back and forth in the crowd. With “Point of It All”, I swear he was channeling his inner Teddy Pendergrass by the females’ reaction. The amorous feelings continued straight into “Charlene”. His inner soul’s sanctum of love loss reverberated strongly throughout the amphitheater. After ending his session with the Five Heartbeats’ “Heart is a House”, it was safe to say that Anthony Hamilton properly prepped the crowd for the music to come.

Musical Interlude
Doug E. Fresh
is still entertaining after all these years. As DJ Jazzy Jeff rolled through old school hits like “Apache’s Song”, Rob Base and DJ Eaze Rock’s “It Takes Two”, and numerous Bobby Brown songs, the crowd was in an uproar. If these people were between the ages of thirty-something to fifty-something, you would swear they were teenagers again. The entire amphitheater was on their feet dancing and singing along. Doug E. Fresh was too busy motivating the crowd and showing them how to “Dougie”.

Jill Scott’s Performance
Jill Scott
got going immediately after Doug E. Fresh left the stage. Rather than doing a lot of old songs, she went into her more recent material. She got the night going with “Quick”, and kept it moving with “All Cried Out Redux” and even a rendition of “La Di Da Di” for the crowd to enjoy. Even with Anthony Hamilton coming out for “So In Love”, there was plenty for people to enjoy. Jill proved that, even with her more unfamiliar/newer material, she could captivate a crowd.
     She didn’t stay away from her older material for long, however. With the inclusion of “Hate On Me”, “The Way You Love Me”, and “Slowly, Surely” (a personal favorite), the concert took on a nostalgic twist. It amazed her that the crowd was in full swing reciting words, dancing around with Moscato bottles or screaming “That’s my song!”. Even with the performance of “A Long Walk” (right after a dope Stakes Is High interlude), the crowd stayed into it. “Golden” was supposed to be her last song, giving the crowd plenty to be happy about.

     Yet, we all knew that an encore was coming and it came. When she began to belt out “He Loves Me (Lyzel in B Flat)”, all the people that started to leave stopped in their tracks. Any concert goer could tell that this song meant to world to her. The operatic overtones of the song as she crooned the breakdown were enormously impressive. Ending off the night (truly) with “Golden”, most of the crowd was ready to go feeling satisfied.

The Rundown
Jill Scott’s Summer Block Party Tour made the scorching evening more worthwhile. With the sites of great music, a festive and energized atmosphere full of libations and sustenance, and released emotions, it is safe to say that it was a success. I would hope that younger artists would take notes. You had older artists still coming to show anyone and everyone how to have a great time. There is no better feeling than that.


Article written by contributing writer for STACKS Magazine, Mark A. Harris