Chicago’s V103 brought some of the biggest icons in R&B and rap to the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island on Saturday night, for their fourth annual Summer Block Party. While the burgers and dogs stayed at home, V103 served up a night of live music that fans will not soon forget.
With a headlining performance from Keith Sweat, which saw surprise appearances from Tank and Chicago’s own R. Kelly, fans also caught lengthy and memorable sets from Ne-Yo, Ja Rule, Ashanti, Brandy and more. Whether it was Brandy’s vocals that blew you away, or Ja Rule & Ashanti’s duets or even Ne-Yo riding a female fan on stage piggy back style (you read that correctly), the entertaining night was full of highlights.
Check out our photos from last night’s performance below.
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 Tourhere.
With seven albums in just eight years, Rick Ross has another banger in his catalog with Hood Billionaire. Released through Def Jam, Slip-n-Slide Records, and his label Maybach Music Group, Hood Billionaire doesn’t reinvent the wheel or show us anything that we haven’t seen from Ross since his debut in 2006, but he certainly isn’t slacking. If you love Rick Ross than you will love this album. If you haven’t been a fan in the past however, don’t expect Hood Billionaire to win you over. Just because Ross has changed on the outside (having lost over 100 lbs.), he hasn’t changed on the inside, musically at least. Depending on who you are, Hood Billionaire either brilliantly sticks with a theme and a certain sound or it is too repetitive and everything sounds the same (it is all about perception for this one). Fortunately for myself however, I can always go for some more music from the “Teflon Don”.
Later this month, Chicago’s Union Park is hosting Common’s AAHH! Fest. As announced last week, legendary comedian Dave Chappelle will be hosting this years event, which features a number of Chicago artists and one “very special surprise guest”. Time to speculate who that may be!