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Issue 1084

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Teddy Riley & BLACKstreet: Indig02 02/04/10

BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10
BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com BLACKstreet @Indig02 02/04/10 copyright@bluesandsoul.com

As we approach twenty five years of New Jack Swing and fifteen years on from their last London show, it's safe to say that BLACKstreet and their music remain as relevant today as it was back then. In a return to the golden era of modern R&B / Soul, the âking of New Jack Swingâ Teddy Riley and Grammy award winning BLACKstreet returned to London for their hotly anticipated, one-off comeback show at the indigO2.

As the packed venue was plunged into darkness, the stage was set and when the classic BLACKstreet philosophy (interlude) dropped it was officially show time. One by one the figures on stage were unveiled and the intimate venue erupted when founding members Teddy R, Chauncey Black (Hannibal) and the guys kicked off the show with âGet Me Homeâ featuring Foxy Brown - it was truly âonâ, making the two and a half hour wait worth every minute.

The show was dedicated to the legendary Marvin Gaye, as the concert was on the eve of his birthday and Teddy Rileyâs dear friend the King of Pop himself Michael Jackson, Riley having co-produced both his Dangerous (1991) and Invisible (2001) albums.

As an intro to what was the ultimate BLACKstreet and Riley discography, they followed with âDonât Leave meâ and for the true fans taking us way back in the day with an acapella rendition of âBaby be Mineâ from their 1994 debut self titled album.

It became profoundly evident when they performed seminal classics such âBooti Callâ, âMake U Wetâ, âU Blow my Mindâ and even âJoyâ that the audience, much like the current BLACKstreet formation, with its infamous musical chairs reshuffles in the past sixteen years, was a true reflection of the Old skool vs. New skool.

To the bands credit, sensing the division they really worked the crowd and the audience interaction, especially with the ladies was on point all night. The old and the new finally were united by number 1 US Billboard hit âNo Diggityâ from the four times platinum 1996 album âAnother Levelâ which they reloaded and dropped twice. Baring in mind that it is sometime since their hay day and the guys are certainly no longer in the 20s, they still managed to work the stage as well they always had.â¨â¨
Amongst the many highlights of the night was when Teddy Riley took us way, way back to the âWRECKX â N- EFFECTâ days with a UK rump shaker competition. All that I will say is, the less that is said about the sight of women that clearly should
know better, shaking their money makers, and getting way too up close and personal with the songwriter and producer, the better.

We were also treated to new jack swing anthems by the super producer such, as âMy Prerogativeâ (Bobby Brown) and even GUY classic âLetâs Chillâ. Barely scratching the surface of his career which has spanned almost three decades, and seen him work with just about everyone including fellow 90s pioneers such as Heavy D, Keith Sweat, Aaron Hall and even SWV.

In a Final tribute to MJ, London dance crew âThe Disconnectorsâ, popped and locked to a Jackson and Riley medley and even a particularly admirable re-enactment of Thriller. Whilst the dance troop certainly got Mr. Riley's seal of approval, I am not so sure the audience entirely agreed. Rather than at the end, it may have been best placed in the two plus hours ahead of the main show, which despite DJ Stretch Taylor digging deep and really getting the crowd bumping with 90s party bangers did drag a little.

I for one would have preferred more of BLACKstreet as there was still plenty from their back catalogue they hadn't yet resurrected. As the full group reformed on the indigO2 stage to perform their final tracks including â(Money can't) Buy me loveâ, I hoped that they might sing my personal favourite â âLet's stay in loveâ, but it wasn't to be.  There is however, no doubt fans everywhere will be eagerly awaiting the forthcoming BLACKstreet & Dave Hollister album. â¨
Photos care of B&S' Romain Kedochim - More visit ROMAIN PHOTOGRAPHY
Words THUTO MALI

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