When Usher wants to have a listening party for a new album, he doesn’t settle for renting out a club with the DJ spinning the tunes. Instead, he partners with acrobatic play, Fuerza Bruta and creates a night filled with strobe lights, water, and a whole lot of running.
After being treated to a few cocktails in the lower level, journalists and music reps gathered in the studio of the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York City for the invite-only event.
The extravagant performance presented by Usher and Fuerza Bruta served as a preview for the artist’s upcoming album, Looking for Myself — set to release June 12.
Though the event featured 12 tracks from Looking for Myself, the artist’s seventh studio album, this was far from a concert. Usher’s mouth remained closed the entire night, putting major emphasis on the elaborate dance moves of the artist and performers.
The show began with Usher running frantically on a treadmill, bursting through paper-made walls along the way. “Climax,” Usher’s current hit single, played loudly in the background. A female performer joined the artist on the treadmill, gazing in adoration as she sped pass. Similar to the lyrics from the hit single, it seemed the two were “going nowhere fast.”
In midst sprint, a gunshot goes off and “blood” appeared on Usher’s shirt. Unfortunately for the women in the audience, the artist was wearing an undershirt. As he removed the bloody shirt he continued to run away from what appears to be the mistakes of his past with a male performer behind the him mimicking his every move.
Usher wasn’t the only one moving during this performance. Throughout the night, several audience members were directed to move around the studio, accommodating the moving objects (like the treadmill) and dancers.
Probably exhausted from all the running, Usher took a second to lie down on a leather cot. As he rested, aerobic dancers performed above, circling around a latex-like dome. The dreamy sequence included the track “Lemme See” featuring rapper Rick Ross. The poppy tune seemed reminiscent of times of 8701, Usher’s third album.
A restaurant setting then appeared with Usher conversing with two others. All of a sudden, strong wings broke out and snow (white confetti) fell onto the audience. During this commotion, a Kascade remix of “Climax” is played in the background. Once the storm passed, performers celebrated as they interacted with the audience, breaking pieces of Styrofoam off of their heads. Usher also joined in on the fun orchestrating a dance battle in the crowd to the tunes of “Scream” and later a track titled “Twisted.”
The artist then disappeared out of the crowd and the room went completely dark. Blue lights became visible above the audience from what seemed to be a see-through pool. The audience looked above in amazement as they watched dancers perform aerobic moves under the water. Flips and dives were a few of the incredible moves performed. The sensual moves were accompanied by tracks “Hot Thing” featuring hit maker Pharrell Williams and “I Care 4 You.”
Usher then returned to his rapid running on the treadmill, this time seeming much more relieved. Two performers joined the artist as they smiled and sprinted. United, they took a large leap through another paper-made wall and continued to run.
Overall, the performance wasn’t just pleasing to the eye, it was also, more importantly, pleasing to the ear. From the tracks played during the event, it is a safe bet that Looking for Myself will become another successful album for Usher.
Here is the full list of tracks performed from “Looking For Myself”:
Photo via Billboard