Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review: Usher’s “OMG” Tour

Venue: Nassau Coliseum
Date: Sunday, May 8, 2011

I have been a fan of Usher’s since “My Way” came out in 1997. He was just one of those artists that were always there either making music or starring in horrible 1999 rom coms. Anywho, when my friend said he was playing Nassau Coliseum and we should get tickets, I was all for it. I figured the show would be sold out but it wasn’t and we wound up with pretty good seats. Then I realized, oopsy it’s on Mother’s Day. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t sold out. 

I hadn’t been to a bonafide pop concert since seeing the Backstreet Boys in 1999…at Nassau Coliseum. So I had forgotten just how dressed up and crazy fans could be. Looking around the parking lot, I see girls in prom dresses and stilettos, skin tight mini skirts and cleavage enhancing tube tops. I’m not sure if they thought dressing that way meant Usher would notice them and invite them backstage. But trust me, some of those girls needed to wear a hell of a lot more clothing before they would attract the attention of a carnie much less Usher.

The show was slated to start at 7pm so we pre-gamed a little in the parking lot. We didn’t want to miss Akon so at exactly 7pm we made our way into the coliseum. Imagine my surprise when I see grandmas dressed up for church and newborn babies walking to the show. I guess I can understand why a woman over the age of 70 might enjoy Usher’s music but a newborn? Really? Do they have to buy a full price ticket for this child? And I doubt the fireworks and strobe lights are making them feel good much less the deafening music. Definitely not the place for a baby.

The show started right on time with a DJ on stage and some girl semi-singing along to some hip hop hits. I wasn’t sure if she was really singing and I found it all to be a bit odd. Singing along with already popular hits doesn’t make us want to buy your album.

About 25 minutes later, Akon graced the stage dressed in an all white get up. I’m tellin ya, black guys can wear all white like nobody’s business. He brought a lot of energy to the stage and was all over the place. Unfortunately, he could only perform snippets of most of his hits. Since many of his most popular songs (“Soul Survivor” ”Smack That” “I Wanna Love You”) feature other artists on the verses, Akon could only sing the choruses. Which wasn’t that bad but made every song about one minute long.

He started doing some African drumming which was interesting. His “hype” man was in a kilt which was a bit unusual. Akon ripped off his shirt as per usual. However, his abs weren’t in top form if you ask me. He kept referring to the audience as “New York City” which I didn’t like because we are a good half hour away from NYC. You’re actually on Long Island. Call us Long Island. 

Overall, I’d give Akon an A-. Great energy, sang all his hits, kept the crowd going and looked good doing it.

After a quick 15 or 20 minutes, the lights dimmed again and dancers started pouring out holding some weird sword like thing. Obviously they were a distraction because Usher was in the middle of the audience on a flying stage. He flew over the audience and landed on the stage. Since I was all the way on the side of the stage I could pretty much see everything going on backstage and on stage. 

Usher opened with some song I didn’t know then went straight into “Yeah!” I love that song and it got everyone on their feet. The theme of the night seemed to be a futuristic strip club. After “Yeah!” Usher didn’t follow up with another hit for a while. His dancing was awesome but he didn’t even pretend to be singing. He would ad lib some words but the back singers did most of the work.

There was good interaction with the crowd (he at least knew he was on Long Island) and a lot of set changes. Props kept being brought on stage and taken off. It was a little bit distracting but maybe that was just because I could see it so clearly. About an hour in, the concert hit a low point. He did 6 or 7 slow songs in a row (none of which I knew minus “Nice & Slow”) and it just seemed to be dragging. He ripped off about three wife beaters and although he has a great body it was getting a bit old. He did some mini skits with his gorgeous dancers that I didn’t really get. He announced he was going to pick an audience member to come on stage and since it was Mother’s Day, she had to be a mom. He did mention she had to be over 18 which was funny (since Akon got in trouble for dry humping a fan on stage and it turns out she was like 15). Well it took him like 20 minutes to decide and I was about ready to take a snooze.

Not the girl from the night I went
The girl he brought on stage didn’t look a day over 20 but claimed she had a 2 year old son. She seemed a little shy at first but then got super into it and was basically trying to have sexual relations with Usher on stage. It got a little uncomfortable at one point when he’s trying to sing to her and she was trying to make out with him. I was glad when that segment ended.

Ursher went back on his flying stage to sing “Let it Burn.” He actually sang and it sounded very good. I was glad he sang the whole song. My favorite part of the show was when he did a medley of all his old songs. I was a lil bummed that instead of performing the whole song; he chose to do a medley of them. Favorites like “I Need a Girl,” “Confessions Part II,” and “My Way” all were cut down to just choruses. 

At this point, the concert was starting to feel like a soft core porn. A weird jungle gym like prop was brought on stage for the dancers to climb on and hump. It seemed like they didn’t even have limbs they were so flexible. Usher started to sing a little bit more and dance a little less. There was no doubt he was a great singer when he chose to sing. He can hit some high notes!

At this point, he danced to a medley of Michael Jackson songs which got everyone moving. He started picking things up and did “Caught Up” “Love in this Club” “Bad Girl” and “DJs got us falling in love again.” After this he thanked the audience for supporting him. The show ended with with fireworks and of course his hit “OMG.”

I felt there was a weird mixture in the audience. The section I sat in wasn’t very energetic and frowned upon me and my friends for dancing. 

A plus: Nassau Coliseum got new screens so everything was crystal clear.

This concert made me wish I caught him on his “Confessions” tour. Although he was energetic and definitely gave me my money’s worth, I felt it got way too slow in the middle of the show. He didn’t play “You Got it Bad” which is one of my favs. He cut short most of his hits except for the last three singles off his new album. His dancers were awesome and kept the energy up. He knew how to communicate with the audience although ripping your shirt off 3 times was a bit much. There were a lot of little kids there and I don’t think some of his set was very kid friendly. There was very few clothing on him and his dancers. When he picked a lady in the audience to get serenaded things got very sexual for a while. However, he did perform for almost 3 hours and it was entertaining. Definitely wasn’t a bad way to spend a Sunday.
Overall: B-/B

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