Blige, Mary J. : Manchester MEN Arena
Fellow divas, acolytes and imitators take heed: this is how you do it...
to stand out amongst the morass of identikit R&B warblers.
Indeed, against all odds, the past decade has seen Blige come
back off the ropes from drugs, scraps, illness and crippling
self-loathing to join the true few in earning diva status.
All of which is to forget what got her here in the first place - Blige's
voice is one for all time. Her high-production-values show looks
like a 90-minute Gap advert, feels much more intimate than the
average stadium outing and when the right balance of R&B, gospel
and pop is struck it also feels near timeless.
One of those moments ('All Night Long') comes soon after she takes the stage
in her 'street Mary' persona. From this frantic
step aerobics-type pace Blige loses momentum in
her conversion to 'MOR Mary' until
'chart eating laser-sighted pop goddess Mary' swoops in for
the all conquering finale - a Darth Vader Imperial march
style-reworking of last year's 'No More Drama'. Fellow divas,
acolytes and imitators take heed: this is how you do it.
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