Ever since the release of her demo album ‘The Audtion’ back in 2003, Janelle Monae has made her mark by pushing boundaries musically and otherwise. The talented singer-songwriter has a voice that is capable of producing chills up and down your body as she embodies everything from a soulful crooner to a funky pop queen and everything in between. With 8 Grammy Award nominations and the Trailblazer of the Year Award in 2018 from Billboard Music, Janelle has done it all. In addition to her successful music career, Monae has appeared in numerous films and television shows, been a CoverGirl spokesperson, and performed for President Obama. This year Monae carries on her musical legacy with the release of her fourth album ‘The Age of Pleasure’ and subsequent North American tour.
This Monday evening, Monae brought her fantastic show to the Queen City, performing on The Age of Pleasure Tour at Skyla Credit Union Ampitheatre to a packed house full of enough energy to light up the Charlotte skyline. Everyone was anticipating a glorious night of music, dance, and showmanship from this amazing artist and let me tell you that this show exceeded all our expectations. It was quite simply an amazing experience.
The stage set was revealed with a grand staircase adorned with beautiful flowers at the bottom with platforms on each side for members of Monae’s band. Two of her horn players flanked each side of the staircase as smoke billowed out and each band member took their spot on the stage. The venue absolutely erupted as Monae made her appearance at the rear of the stage. She looked positively stunning as she simply radiated on stage dressed in a one-of-a-kind floral cloak, completing the look with matching boots and hat. Monae dazzled as she opened the evening’s performance with “Float” off the latest record. She would make her way down the stairs, accompanied by a bevy of dancers, cranking things up a notch, as they toasted us all with champagne glasses held high to “Champagne Shit.” The was part concert, part Broadway production, and part Vegas revue as we simply all took a moment to soak it in.
Monae’s vocals were spot-on, sweet and saucy, and sexy and sultry depending on the song and her mood. The dancers were fantastic, synchronizing their moves along with Monae, adding to the drama and excitement of the production. The band was top-notch in every way from the horn section to the guitars as they led us through a memorable night of music. We had members of the audience brought up on stage to dance to “Paid in Pleasure” and we even had Monae making her way out into the audience during the final encore “Come Alive (The War of the Roses).”
The Age of Pleasure Tour was a fantastic showcase for this talented artist and just happened to be one of my favorite shows of the summer. There are still a few dates left for you to experience the magic that is Janelle Monae. Don’t miss it.
Chapter I: A Thousand Versions of the Self
Black Sugar Beach
Chapter II: Now or Never
Chapter III: (T)high Vibrations
Paid in Pleasure
Chapter IV: Paradise Found
Chapter V: Surfing on the Sun
Only Have Eyes 42
I Like That
Make Me Feel
Come Alive (The War of the Roses)
We would like to thank Kim Shiver from Livenation for the credentials to review the show.