Music Reviews — 31 May 2013
Kelly Rowland & The Dream at Best Buy Theater: A LocalBozo.com Concert Review

Kelly Rowland and The Dream
Best Buy Theater, New York, NY
May 30, 2013

While you may not know him by name alone, you’ve certainly sung along to some of the iconic pop music songs he’s created for other artists. Britney Spears’ “Me Against the Music.” Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” One of this generation’s finest music writers and one of the genre’s most successful artists teamed up for a double bill at a jam packed Best Buy Theater on Thursday night as record producer turned singer-songwriter The Dream and former Destiny’s Child Kelly Rowland shared a co-headlining set in front of a crowd just looking to be a part of it all. While this was just the latest stop on their “Lights Out Tour,” the two talents equally shined bright enough to light up their New York City fans.

Out to perform first was The Dream, whose hour long set in front of a full backing band and DJ was a true revelation. The crooning R&B singer perfectly paced himself, dancing to alternating sides of the stage and swooning every lady in the audience. The Dream’s outstanding and high pitched soothing vocals were matched only by his undeniable stage presence, as he stood with his back to the crowd for more than half of his “Holy Love” opener, before turning to reveal himself- his arms stretched out open wide and angelic. With his sunglasses firmly on his face for his entire set, The Dream ran through hits like “Dope Bitch,” “Shawty is a 10,” and “Fancy,” but it was the fast paced, pulse pounding beats of “Ditch That,” when coupled with his melodic voice that brought the crowd out of their collective shell. And just when we thought that his set had concluded, The Dream re-emerged with a collection of backup dancers in overalls for “Rockin’ That Thang,” a poignant, upbeat closer that meshed some of his finest R&B stylings with as catchy a beat as he possesses in his repertoire.

Blog: Kelly Rowland at Best Buy Theater

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If The Dream’s performance ignited the audience’s flame, then Kelly Rowland poured gasoline all over it, truly setting it ablaze. A curtain silhouette opened to reveal a smoke filled stage, filled with a live band, backing singers, and the slender songstress herself, beautifully outfitted in a vest, and short cut up denim shorts, with her long straight hair flopping around perfectly. Alternating between sheepishly smiling at the crowd and looking devilishly sensual, Rowland’s set comprised much of her solo career, including plenty from her upcoming album “Talk a Good Game” (Due June 18th). That said, we were treated to a small selection of some Destiny’s Child classics like “Jumpin’ Jumpin’”, “Survivor,” and “Soldier” and a much welcomed rendition of Rowland’s portion of “Dilemma,” despite the absence of Nelly.

While the Destiny’s Child tracks certainly caused the crowd to explode, Rowland’s new material similarly seemed to resonate. Tracks like “Kisses Down Low,” “Street Life,” and “Talk a Good Game” were each well received from the crowd, before the slow, stripped down “Dirty Laundry” lent itself to be the evening’s most poignant moment. The highly anticipated album features the likes of Wiz Khalifa and Pusha T, and a reunion of sorts with Beyonce and Michelle Williams on “You Changed.” But it was her collaboration on “Where Have You Been” from The Dream’s latest release “IV Play” that truly exhibited the talents of both artists. Both now a little more grown up, but simply as good as ever.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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