Nine-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and record producer Mary J. Blige spent a night with her Bay Area fans and soulfully sang to a standing room only crowd.
Harmonizing her heart out and enthusiastically two stepping while keeping a smile on her face, Blige gave the crowd a party to remember Friday night at the Fox Theater in Oakland.
The crowd was chanting, “Mary, Mary, Mary” when the charismatic Mary J. Blige exploded onto the stage singing her 1994 hit, “Mary Jane (All Night Long).”
With her upcoming album, “My Life II… The Journey Continues” to be released Nov. 21, this tour focused on her 1994 album, “My Life,” which she performed in its entirety.
“My Life” was an album based on Blige’s own life experiences and struggles that eventually went triple platinum.
The floor was the best place to be that night. Not only were her adoring fans just a few feet away from Blige herself, but they could feel every beat penetrating up from beneath the wooden floors.
Packed in like sardines, with drinks in hand, the crowd was singing, dancing and having a great time. It was truly a head to toe audiovisual experience.
As though it was rehearsed, the audience sang along with every song while Blige just held out her microphone and allowed them to finish the words.
Blige, who hails from the Bronx, started her career 20 years ago with the release of her first multi-platinum album, “What’s the 411?”
Her performance of the song “My Life” was magical. The entire house sang the lyrics while Blige just provided the accompaniment.
It was definitely an interactive show as the more energized Blige became, the more the fans fed off her energy and vice versa. She put her heart and soul into every song and as a result, the enamored audience became as emotionally involved as she was.
Blige is the only artist to win Grammy Awards in Pop, Rap, Gospel and R&B.
She has a unique gift, for bringing the crowd into the show. She made her concert feel like an intimate performance with a few of her closest friends.
The show reached its climax with the performance of the old school hit, “I’m Going Down,” which was Blige’s first top 20 hit in the UK off of the “My Life” album.
Blige ended the show with the final song on the “My Life” album, “Be Happy.”
She disappeared from the stage only to return to do an encore, opening with her newest single, “25/8.” She also gave a couple of snippets from her upcoming alum.
The show ended with the heart-pounding hit “Family Affair,” which had everyone standing up on their feet.
It was a “send off” fitting the mood and character of the show.