BY DAN GARCIA
If you’ve ever seen comedian Aziz Ansari’s stand-up review of an R. Kelly concert and viewed it as sheer entertainment and comedy, instead of an accurate representation of what an R. Kelly performance is actually like, then you were wrong. In Ansari’s special, “Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening”, the Parks and Recreation comedian describes an elaborate production where Kelly splices his music with unimaginable theatrics, video clips, entertaining conversations with the audience, and wild pyrotechnics. Not only is all the above 100% factual, but fans in attendance tonight at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL can attest to it all first hand. To say R. Kelly is a one of the best showmen from the past two decades would be an understatement, and tonight he certainly delivered for his hometown crowd of Chicago.
If R. Kelly was anyone but R. Kelly, we would have expected “The Buffet Tour” to open with a performance of the majority of tracks from Kelly’s most recently LP, The Buffet, with a few of the Chicago singer’s biggest hits mixed in throughout the set and in the encore. And if that predictable and structured layout would have took place tonight, it would have been just fine and fans would have certainly left with their money’s worth. However the night’s performance was nothing but structured and predictable, and totally rewrites your expectations going into a live show. And in the most unique way, despite the show being a weird random mess (for lack of better words), it all worked and fans were more than entertained throughout the night. Beyond the music, highlights of the night included R. Kelly responding to internet haters by watching Kobe’s last game on a 50 ft. screen, a flying blimp robot named R. Bot, and random videos of R. Kelly playing basketball and talking about his love of chili. R. Kelly reinvents the wheel when it doesn’t need reinventing, and in doing so he takes us down a whole new and amazing path that we never knew existed.
Despite being dubbed “The Buffet Tour”, tonight’s performance focused around R. Kelly’s massive catalog of hits instead of pinpointing on just his most recent project. Fans went from feeling sexy during ‘Bump N’ Grind’ to getting emotional while singing along to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’. Kelly’s 2-hour long performance truly reminds you of his consistency in the R&B world and the massive number of hit records that R. Kelly has delivered throughout the years. While the video intermissions and added production value certainly make R. Kelly’s performances stand out, it’s the individual performances of tracks that serve as the highlights of the night. The Buffet Tour left not one fan hungry for more tonight, but many would definitely come back for second helpings if they could.
Check out our photos from tonight’s performance below and check out the remaining dates for The Buffet Tour here.
Photos by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration