Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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En Vogue: Indigo 21/10/10

En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10
En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10 En Vogue @Indigo2 21/10/10

21st October 2010 one of my fantasises came to fruition. I always said to myself if I ever won the lottery, I would have hire this group to perform at a private show for me with all expenses paid. Well I never won the lottery but I got to go to the show of the year: En Vogue performing on London soil; the first time in 18 years.

During that time there was the fall out with Luther Vandross during his early 1990s world tour, the parting of Dawn Robinson, change of record labels, motherhood, change in line up, and relegation to the sidelines by other powerhouse girl groups; however En Vogue stood strong. To describe what these four ladies have meant to me is itself easily a 4000 word essay, and thatâs without footnotes. The Supremes may have been set the standard, and Destinyâs Child and dare I say it Spice Girls may have had world domination and world records, but for me the epitome of a female singing group has and always will be En Vogue.

20 years in the game and these ladies are still as mesmerising as they were when they stunned the world their hit #1 hit âHold onâ. Packed into the Indigo2 on a school night we patiently waited for the ladies to appear; I might add its been a while since I have seen so many men at a concert, with smiles on their faces and not looking in the least bit hen pecked. Opening with âLove Donât Love Youâ the quad squad, dressed deliciously in black, began the show. Being the new millennium man I wont comment on the body parts of these ladies. No, no I wonât mention the gravity defying breasts, the pert bottoms, dazzling teeth, powerful arms and legs, because besides all that what I love about this group is that they can all sing lead effortlessly, and did. âNever Gonna Get Itâ instantly reminded everyone who was in doubt why these ladies were and still are the funky divas of soul. Maxineâs raspy alto took control of the verse, devious Dawn drew us to the bridge, before sassy Terry and Miss Perfection Cindy led us all to the chorus singing âno youâre never get it, my lovinââ. Without a bare midriff in sight we were all still seduced with the subtle poses, hair flicks, arms movements, that have always been the trademark of the ladies.

The ladies took time out to perform a medley of hits from female artists that had inspired them over the years. Starting with âAint No Mountain High Enoughâ the harmonies produced were amazing, but I was blown away when they did a snippet of âCheryl Lynnâs classic âTo Be Realâ- wow! Cindy was able to hit that high note, and the rest of the ladies harmonies were pitch perfect with the original. We were treated to other songs by the likes of Chaka Khan, Anita Bell, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, each track allowing one of the ladies to showcase their vocal talents on lead. Moving from those classics to their version of the classic âGiving Him Something He Can Feelâ again blew us away. Dawnâs vocals were made for that song; the soulfulness was breathtaking, and the subtle shimmies of the other ladies left me wanting more. That glance over the shoulder, the sway of the back, the positioning of the hands or gentle hip dip was classic En Vogue at their best; indeed it even sent a trickle of sweat down the back of my neck.

Picking up the pace, their collaboration with hip hop queens Salt Nâ Pepa âWhatta Manâ was delivered with the raps sang by Cindy. Whilst I felt there was more they could have down with that song, the vocals again were pitch perfect. What followed was a real treat, Dawn Robinson singing her smash hit song that she had recorded with Lucy Pearl âDonât Mess With My Manâ. Hugely enjoyed the ladies in the venue, we then rocked out, pumped our firsts in the air, and did some hang banging to âFree Your Mindâ. If I had to say what the crowd favourite was, I would proper say just by a hairs breadth it was âDonât Let Goâ. So enthusiastic were the crowd that the quad squadsâ vocals were at point drowned out, as people sang to every word. To wrap up the night they sang their funky classic âHold Onâ and not one person was able to stand still or keep quiet after the powerful acapella intro led by Terry, and once the beat kicked in. Still sounding as fresh today as it did in 1990, it was a true reflection of what good music is.

If I havenât conveyed already what an awesome night this was for me, then I will state it now- En Vogue rocked! They brought their talent, grace, energy, style and enthusiasm to a crowd of many like me who have been waiting for years to see in the flesh. To conclude I will steal a line from one of their own songs to describe the ladies âDawn, Max, Terry and Cindy. Black, beautiful, intelligent, well structured and strongâ Dear reader I do believe my heart has just skipped a beat; En Vogue come back soon.

Ricardito a.k.a. En Vogueâs Boy Toy [lol - you wish! Editor]

All photo's courtesy of David Tett.

Boogie Nights next not to be missed event is Brass Construction on November 12 - you can book your tickets below now.
Words Richard 'Ricardito' Ashie

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