REVIEW: Marsha Ambrosius & Miguel Lead The Way as Rising Icons in Oakland

Two of 2011’s biggest R&B stars made their way to the Bay Area on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 to The Fox Theatre. With a town as diverse and energetic as Oakland, it was only fitting for Miguel and Marsha Ambrosius to kick off the Grey Goose Rising Icons Tour in the Bay.

R&B crooner Miguel first entered the scene in 2007 via his MySpace page, with songs like “Quickie” and “Sure Thing.” After building a strong following, he made his mainstream appearance in 2010 with debut album, “All I Want Is You.” As soon as Miguel entered the stage, the crowd was more than ready as he started off with “Pay Me,” off of his debut album. Backed by a live band and a neon-glowing mic-stand, the Los Angeles-native had Fox Theatre on its feet, grooving and belting out lyrics to his album material, including smash hit “All I Want Is You,” the seductive single “Quickie,” and the alluring hit “Sure Thing.” Throughout his set, Miguel made sure to pay homage to his influences, Michael Jackson and Prince, as reflected in his wardrobe of choice, his stage set-up, and even his spins. However, this did not take away from the R&B newcomer’s own unique soulful falsetto that melts and lingers within you. One thing you can bet on is that you’ll be getting a show that leaves you craving for more.

Miguel had set the tone for R&B songstress Marsha Ambrosius, who has been known mostly as the singing half of the neo-soul duo Floetry. Marsha reinvented her look and sound with the release of her debut solo album, “Late Nights & Early Mornings” in early 2011. Entering the stage in nothing by a white dress shirt, Marsha put the Fox Theatre under her trance with her ballads. With four large high-def screens displaying pictures and her deejay, DJ Aktive, on the turntables in the back, Marsha got the crowd up on their feet dancing to her songs, such as “Hope She Cheats On You.” The audience could feel the awe and emotion in her voice as she crooned through album tracks, including “Your Hands,” “With You,” “Lose Myself,” and “Tears,” as well as the Floetry-era hit “Say Yes.” The London native also paid her respects to the late Michael Jackson, dubbing him “the baddest entertainer in the world,” before performing “Butterflies.” And the show has merely just begun for Marsha.

Rapper Busta Rhymes also lended his voice in pre-recorded introductions to the next slew of songs, which Marsha outdoes with her own introductory rant into her single “Hope She Cheats On You.” She continues to surprise the audience with her Hip-Hop segment, as Aktive played hits like “Hustle Hard,” “Racks on Racks,” “Grove St. Party,” and the classic “The Choice Is Yours” by Black Sheep. Marsha also blessed the crowd with some new material, as she made way over to the piano. To wrap up her set, Marsha dedicated her single “Far Away” to “those we’ve loved and lost,” as she hit all her high notes before exiting the stage. After a huge demand from the crowd, Marsha graced the stage one last time for an encore performance of a new song off her next album, before taking a bow and waving farewell to Oakland.

In such an intimate venue as the Fox Theatre, every person in the room could feel the love and emotion in the atmosphere, as everyone left with a beaming smile of satisfaction. Needless to say, both Marsha and Miguel left the Bay Area on a high note, with the grown-and-sexy crowd only realizing that R&B won’t be leaving anytime soon. The new R&B generation has figured out how to create their own sound, while incorporating elements of the old school R&B. With such strong stage presence and versatile voices as Marsha and Miguel, both are guaranteed to be contenders as the next greats.