“I know y’all are used to me taking my shoes off and getting ugly with it, but there won’t be none of that tonight,” Fantasia told the nearly sold-out crowd at the Highline Ballroom in New York City.
“I want everybody out there to know that there’s nothing that I can’t do,” Fantasia told the crowd before the show got started. It was a bold statement to make on the front end of the show, but she proved herself right by evening’s end.
With the posture and decorum of a big band vocalist, Fantasia stood in front of a music stand with her shoulders back and head held high. It was a different Fantasia, at least at first.
“Tonight, I bring you jazz. I bring you vocals. Tonight, I am no longer Fantasia,” she said. “I am Mrs. Taylor. Let me take you on a journey back to when music was mmm mmm good.”
The evening felt less like a concert and more like a one-woman show. The performance gave a “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” vibe. Fantasia wrapped personal family stories around seasonal classic music such as “Merry Christmas Baby” and “Santa Claus Go Straight to the Ghetto.”
She shared an ongoing narrative about her grandfather’s love of “brown liquor.” She brought down the house with her rendition of “Give Love On Christmas Day,” which she told the crowd was her grandmother’s favorite song.
She also infused a few of her non-holiday hits and was true to her recurring theme of using herself as an example of one’s ability to triumph over the circumstances that life brings and come to a place of healing. The moment for her inspirational message came as the intro to her hit “Lose To Win Again.” She “got ugly” for a moment with an interlude from the EU go-go classic “Da Butt,” and her own “Collard Greens and Cornbread.” She also performed her mid-tempo hit “When I See You” before returning to the regularly scheduled format of the show.
Rising singer and actress Demetria McKinney opened the show. She proved herself to the crowd as a vocalist to watch over the course of her brief set, particularly with her Whitney Houston tribute medley. –raymond hagans
Check out the video of Fantasia’s performance, after the jump.
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