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The Stars Descend on North Charleston at Valentine's Weekend Concert
2/19/2014 2:48:40 PM

Erykah Badu (photo: James McDuff)
By Kurt Walker

An all-star lineup of recording artists entertained an enthusiastic audience this past Saturday evening at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Marsha Ambrosius, Lyfe Jennings, Angie Stone, Erykah Badu and the legendary Isley Brothers rounded out a roster of new school and veteran R&B superstars.

Ambrosius led off after an opening DJ set and got things started demonstrating her vocal riffs that introduced her to an international audience as part of the duo known as Floetry.

Lyfe Jennings then took to the stage and after a few songs went into one of his new tracks title “Boomerang” that will be released on his new album. Jennings was enthusiastic about being back in the lowcountry, “It’s great man and its definitely a show with some cats I aspire to be like, not only in their musical talents but in their personal greatness…just being in front of the people of Charleston in this big environment, I’m just happy to be back” stated Jennings. Locals can recall seeing him at local nightclubs when he was starting out several years ago.

If the number of times folks got to their feet was a measure of who was the crowd pleaser of the night then Angie Stone took that honor. Starting her set with “Your Love is Gangsta” she then said she would go back to a period when she was with that other person.

After performing a few verses from her hit “Everyday” she then broke into a verse from “Brown Sugar”, a hit by none other than D’Angelo, making it clear to whom she was making reference to. Moved by her homecoming, being a Carolina native, she went into Curtis Mayfield’s “The Makings of You”.

She would later perform her hit single “More than a Woman” which she recorded with Calvin Richardson. Joining her to perform the duet would be Marcus Allen, a Summerville native.

“I have watched Marcus grow for the last eight or nine years come on the scene and win all kinds of awards…I have watched him grow just like I have watched Erykah…and to be in your hometown and to have that kind of connection and to not allow that person to take advantage of is selfish” said Stone. “ You’re talking about a friendship that spans ten years,” said Allen. He went on to say “…and to finally have that moment with her in my city…the city I’m from, it means the world to me…especially for my mother to see it.”

Badu would enter with the swagger of a headliner as she bopped onto stage and then paused for a standing ovation.

She performed several of her hits including a nice slowed rendition of “Honey”, “On and On”, and “Other Side of the Game”. As a tribute to the Isley’s she mashed “Ye-Yo” over an Isley classic.

She stated on stage that she couldn’t pass up a chance to open for the Isleys. “ they flew me in and paid me” she stated to an ecstatic crowd.

The Isleys then took to the stage and opened with a thumping rendition of “Fight the Power” as Ron Isley strutted the stage, cane in hand. Although he came on geared up and dressed to kill as his alter ego “Mr. Big” they spent the evening performing classic Isley hits and took the audience past midnight.

With such a powerful lineup, performance time was at a premium.

The one complaint held by some was that some of the acts on the undercard were too short and goers would have liked to hear more from them but I am not that sure Mayor Keith Summey and the staff at the Coliseum would have liked the fact of folks being in the facility until 1:00am.

When the clock was approaching midnight I overheard one of the staff supervisors backstage saying, “You just can’t bring the lights up on The Isleys, not Ron Isley”. And so the band played on.

All photos were taken by James McDuff (Images Photography)

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