We had to start the evening off right. Six of us went to the GrillRoom on Monroe and Dearborn a few blocks from the Chicago Theatre. The food was delish and the company was just fine. We eat, drank, joked and laughed until some of us cried. After two hours of our pre-show social hour, we headed to the theatre to listen to the "love" songstress Ms Anita Baker.
It's been a while since Ms. Baker came to Chicago, and I was looking forward to the concert. The show started at 8:10pm, opening act by a local comedian. I forgot his name. He was uum.., all right, I guess. When he left the stage, I was relieved, not because he was so bad; but because I wanted to hear Anita Baker sing.
Well I have to give it to you straight. There is some good, bad, and ugly that came out of this show. First the good: Ms Baker is still giving you the best she's got. She can sing. Her voice is soft and smooth, but strong. If you aren't in love the words and her singing will make you wish for it. Sing, Sing: "I want to know what good love feels like good love, good love. Morning, noon, and night...,". She sang most of her old hits. This was not a promotional tour; So I was very pleased to hear classic Anita Baker. She announced to the audience that she was 49 years old, happy and proud. She wore a pretty black flowing ankle length dress with rhinestone and/or sequins accents. The overlay was sheer, long sleeves. Very Anita Baker. The band and back up singers were very good. I enjoyed the singing.
Now the bad: After the comedian left the stage, we waited and waited and waited an hour and fifteen minutes for the featured artist to show. In the meantime, we listened to all of her recorded songs over the sound system. Not good. They could have played anyone else: Toni Braxton, Luther, Barry White, Jill Scott, but not the featured artist. We wanted to hear her live. When she finally appeared on stage, we noticed that there were no sponsor for the show. Usually there are banners of the various sponsors. So we assumed this show/tour was self sponsored by the artist. Throughout the concert she gave the band and the sound people instructions on what key, beat, melody, and to reverb or not. Half way through, she started taking requests. I wanted her to sing anything, everything at that point. The people in front of us checked the metra train schedule and proceeded to leave just passed the halfway mark of the concert. So they didn't get their monies worth. Now that's bad.
Finally, the ugly. The sound technican could not get the reverb right. She said, "Turn it up. You're not getting paid for tonight. I told you to turn up the reverb. Chuckle, Chuckle. I'm temperamental." If that wasn't bad enough, as Ms. Baker danced across the stage, her "red" bra peaked from behind her beautiful black dress.
As I said, the singing and music were great. I still love her music. But, no one can do it all. I hope next tour Ms. Baker gets adequate help from sponsors and/or a good production crew.