( He is still sweating from two weeks ago)
I’m still exhausted from the longest concert I’ve ever attended. That was NOT a music festival. And it took place 8 days ago.
Anthony Hamilton, who can only be described as dark chocolate in human form, is 1 of only 3 artists that are on my dwindling concert bucket list. Along with Kendrick Lamar and Yelawolf (ain’t I eclectic?), he remained on my “I NEED TO SEE THEM LIVE” list, up until last weekend. When I found out months earlier that he was coming in concert to Miami, I jumped at the chance to go. Granted, I also had to endure 112, Dru Hill, Ginuwine, and Babyface, but that’s not a bad way to go, right?
Fast forward to last Saturday, and I’m ready to go! My crew and I decided to go early (my roommate was cursed to have her two closest black friends always be on time), in order to redeem our Groupon vouchers for tickets. That was our first mistake:
6:00pm: We arrive early to the venue to get our tickets, as the Groupon deals states that the entire party must show up together to get seats together. Apparently, this means nothing and the box office agent tells us we’ll all be sitting separate. I would say that’s what you get for buying tickets off of Groupon, but… I start to ponder if the glass is bulletproof because do they realize that people are going to act ‘ignant once they find out they can’t sit together? We are the exception, NOT the rule.
7:30pm: Official start time of the Old School R&B concert, sponsored by the slow jamz station in town, with an alleged appearance by Tom Joyner. A figure actually appears on stage a little bit after 7:30, after the first spin of “To Be Real” by a DJ in a Kangol. Sadly, it is not Tom Joyner, but a local Miami artist. The crowd was then forced to listen to the unique sounds of a guy named Urban Legend, who proceeded to sing the worst rendition of Jodeci’s Freekn’ You.
8:21pm: 56 strikes again. And when I say 56, I mean, 112 DID NOT perform tonight. You could tell Q was there, and there’s no group without Slim’s signature voice. The other two must have been bots, because I neither recognized their faces NOR the voices that came out of those bodies. At one point, they sang a song that was clearly entitled “SCREAMIN’”, because that’s all I heard from the two imposters for a good 5 minutes. (UPDATE: It looks like it actually may have been the entire group in attendance, so I sincerely apologize. But I swear they never sang as much as they did in those 20 minutes than they did in their entire career, so I’m still not sure what to believe).
8:50pm: Sisqo and Crew hit the stage! They start to sing the fast version of “How Deep is Your Love”! So excited!!!!
8:50:30pm: Jazz walks off the stage already sweating, apparently to take a couple of puffs of his inhaler, because he can’t breathe. He returns, and promptly sits on an amp for the rest of the song. This is not a slow song. He does a few more numbers, seated on said amp, during which time I am able to realize that original member Woody is not there. The dude they replaced him with when “I Should Be” was released is not even on the stage. This is another dude named Tao, who apparently also enjoys screaming. A LOT. However, Dru Hill prove to be the highlight of the show so far, and I still have energy at this point.
9:34pm: Ginuwine is walking evidence of why women fell in love with “pretty boys” back in the day. He gyrates onto the stage, and looks exactly the same as he did on the poster than hung in my boarding school dorm room back in 1995. I’m screaming way too much for a woman over 30, and when the first chords of “Pony” pump out the speakers, I can’t explain what I’m doing to the ADA bar in front of my seat ( oh you didn’t think I was going to get that seat situation taken care of?).
10:00pm: Pony Man is already off the stage, and the realization that the concert has been going for 2.5 hours already starts to set in. I assumed it would start late, and was very well aware that there was a big lineup. However, I was convinced that every act would get 20 minutes or so, MAX, and the headliners would be blessed with 45 minutes. Did they anticipate that 112 was going to sing so long? Was Jazz being winded have anything to do this?
10:20 pm: Babyface is here, and he is SPECTACULAR. He is the epitome of cool. He sounds flawless on the mic, and even does a wardrobe change. All the smooth hits are flowing, and we’re having a great time, despite the yawns.
10:55pm: Babyface transforms into the Incredible Hulk of Inappropriateness. He is singing a slow jam, and then proceeds to rip his shirt off. He does not stop there, as he wants to show everyone how good a runner he is, and does a lap around the whole venue floor, even climbing steps to scream in women’s ears. I am unsure if this is typical of a Babyface performance, but I am quickly assured by my friend who has seen him live before that it is in fact, not. Tom Joyner has finally arrived and says later that in Babyface’s 75 years on this Earth, he has never ripped his shirt off during a set. I wonder if it’s the Miami humidity that did it. I somehow feel I witnessed a little bit of history.
11:00pm: Babyface refuses to get off the stage. Fatigue is setting in, and I now know how Gary Owen feels at his wife’s family’s church. I’m tired, but I still love the music, and the man I came to see hasn’t even sniffed the stage. Baby has just announced that he wants to do a medley of some of the songs he wrote for other artists. Clearly, we are going to be here until 3am.
11:30pm (I THINK): Babyface is finally gone! After realizing he is responsible for Bobby Brown’s entire catalogue and Boyz II Men’s two biggest hits, I am in awe. I also want to go to sleep. But the knowledge that Anthony will grace the stage soon, I try to keep hope alive, even through a 10 minute set from the worst comic alive.
11:55pm: ANTHONY HAMILTON IS HERE!!! HE IS AMAZING! HE SOUNDS LIKE PERFECTION! I WANT TO HAVE HIS BABIES! I have nothing bad to say about his performance, other than he should have been on earlier, perhaps even by himself. I am hoping he returns to Miami on his own, preferably not with the entire lineup for 90’s R&B music with him.
1:00am: The concert is finally over, but my night is not. In typical hood fashion, there was an announcement earlier in the evening that fans could meet Anthony Hamilton, and even take a picture with the artist. But only if you had $40 cash, homie. And because my roommate is IN LOVE with him, she decide to cough up the bucks to take a picture with Chocolate Drop. I proceed to wait for another 30 minutes outside of the venue, during which time an officer inquired if I was alright, and I witnessed a guy yell directions at his ride ( “IT’S THE BANK UNITED ARENA! I’M RIGHT UNDER THE SIGN! YEAH IT’S AN ARENA, ‘CUZ THEY PLAY BASKETBALL HERE! THE BANK UNITED ARENA!”). It’s called the Bank United Center.
1:30pm: The posse is back together again and we finally head home. We’re half asleep and agree that it was the longest concert in the history of the world. But watching Babyface fly around the floor, shirt flapping in the wind with his old man chest out, was worth it.
(KEEP IT A HOT MESS)