I’d like to share a review I wrote about Erykah Badu’s concert at the Greek Theater a few months back. Walk with me, fam.
Friday, June 13, 2008
So last night I went to the Erykah Badu concert at the Greek. The Roots opened for her (I freaking missed that part due to the hellish parking situation at the venue, darn it!) but some fellow concert goers informed me that they rocked it. Shouts out to my peeps in row K! I wasn’t too peeved about missing them since I knew I would see Questlove and Black Thought at Crash Mansion after Ms. Badu’s performance, so it was all gravy.
Ms. Badu, or Low Down Loretta Brown, as she refers to herself, tore the roof off that piece like Parliament. Her energy is crazy, she made a crowd of thousands feel like a small, intimate gathering of friends. She made everyone hug a neighbor, fostering an environment of fellowship and community amongst the crowd. If you weren’t friends with the people next to you, you became friends with them, if only for the duration of the show. In the midst of global madness, the people of Los Angeles came together in the name of soul music. It was truly a beautiful thing.
The performance itself was ill. Her style is so all over the place – B-girl to Billie Holiday, Funkadelic to Janis Joplin, Nina Simone to Texas hip hop – she takes it there. And she makes you a believer.
Homegirl went from playing an African talk drum to beating out old school hip hop beats on a drum machine. It absolutely made me fall in love with her all over again. I almost fell out when she rapped a verse from NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton.” It was a dope low key shout out to the West. She took it way back to another place, where chicks wore dolphin earrings, everyone wore color skinny jeans (the first go ’round), a place where kids spit rhymes and banged out beats on school lunchroom tables. It was a nostalgic moment. My soul was touched.
Ms. Badu’s show felt like a lesson. Halfway through the show she stopped to explain the meaning of a vortex to a crowd: “a swirling force of energy that sucks everything into its orbit.” Sort of like a hurricane, a tornado, or water draining down a sink. Chaos with a center of calm. Homegirl drops major knowledge on those who aren’t up on it. She’s on a whole ‘nother level with the life game.
I can say with absolute conviction that this is one of the best live concerts I’ve seen in my entire life. I have no more words.