Back To Me Concert Review

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Kandi Burress whipped the crowd
into a frenzy.

By T.J. Moore

On a cool and nippy November night, Fantasia rolled into Greensboro with a sexy soul man and a talented real Atlanta housewife in tow. She opened the doors to her 2,400 seat “crib” to find that she nearly had a houseful of guests on hand eager to welcome her home and more than eager to party. What a homecoming!

Fantasia’s “Back To Me” Tour stopped in Greensboro’s War Memorial Auditorium on November 18, and the High Point native, along with Eric Benet and Kandi, thoroughly rocked the house.

As the first artist of the evening, Kandi Burress ripped it. Taking
the stage in a sequined hoodie with four background singers and a DJ on
the “ones and twos” of an Apple Macbook, the former Xscape member gave
the War Memorial crowd a healthy taste of the tracks from her upcoming
second solo album, Kandi Koated. The verdict is: great taste! Very
sweet!

Tracks such as “How could you…Feel My Pain” and “Leave U” had the
crowd out of their seats bobbing their heads and dancing, while an
impressive a cappella version of a deeply personal “Haven’t Loved Right”
showed off Burress’s ability to transition from edgy and up-tempo to
soft, slow, and vulnerable.

While she primarily showcased tracks from her new CD, she hyped
the crowd with Xscape standards such as “Just Kickin’ It” and “My Little
Secret.” She closed her set with a lively rendition of “Fly Above” and
even brought her mother on stage to the delight of the crowd. Burress
had missed two shows due to an illness, but she seemed to pick up right
where she left off — fun and lively.

If Kandi’s brand of street and sweet soul whipped the crowd into a
frenzy, then Eric Benet’s sexy soul seduced them. Backed by a live band
and a background singer and looking devastatingly handsome in a black
suit and tie and shades, Benet got things started with up-tempo cuts
such as “Love Don’t Love Me” and “The Hunge”’ before going into “Spend
My Life with You.”

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Fantasia gave her “houseguests” a raw, soulful, and powerful performance.

Without question the highlights of Benet’s set were “Chocolate
Legs” from his Love and Life CD and “Sometimes I Cry” from his upcoming
fifth album, Lost In Time. Screams from the ladies echoed off the walls
of War Memorial during “Chocolate” and “Sometimes,” His vocal range is
phenomenal: during the ending of “Sometimes I Cry,” Benet effortlessly
shifted from a powerful and soaring falsetto to his smooth tenor. Though
his set was a short one, Eric Benet left it all on the stage. If you
get an opportunity to see a full show of his, then you are in for
something special.

According to her latest single, Fantasia is “Doin’” her and her
hometown fans wouldn’t have it any other way, because their girl did it
big onstage. In full diva mode, flocked by a full band, background
singers and dancers, the lady of the hour gave her “houseguests” a raw,
soulful, and powerful performance.

Fantasia knows how to grab her audience and hold on to them like a
grudge. This was evident in her performances of “Teach me” and the
aforementioned “I’m Doin’ Me” in the beginning of her set. Literally
everyone was on their feet during these two numbers: in their eyes,
Fantasia could do no wrong.

To this observer, however, she could do without the excessive
screaming and theatrics. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little
spice to a performance, but too much of it can ruin your senses.

Fantasia redeemed herself with her ballads and her wonderful
band. Cuts such as “I’m Here” and “Bittersweet” and a cover of “Do You
Know Where You Going To?” showed off the artist’s softer, vulnerable
side. The ballads are truly where ‘Tasia shines.

Speaking of shining, her band was doing just that during the
hour-long set, highlighted by an instrumental solo of “Summertime” in
which the trombones, saxophones, and trumpet played flawlessly. What an
amazing solo, during an amazing set in an amazing show!
While the North Carolina stint of the tour is over, there is still a
chance to treat your ears during the holiday season. You can check out
the stops in Washington, DC (12/28), Chicago (12/30), and Detroit. (New
Year’s Eve).

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