Last week (Nov. 10), R&B superstars, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, and R&B crooner, Maxwell hit the stage at Madison Square Garden. It was one of the most popular concerts of the year, and NYC natives were eager to see the sold-out affair.
Maxwell and Mary J. have been on the road overseas since October to promote the Kings and Queens of Heart Tour, but performing in the Big Apple was a special treat for the artists: the R&B superstars returned home; Maxwell is from East New York, Brooklyn and Mary is from Yonkers.
Emerging superstar and Queens native Ro James also blessed the stage, and his performance was out of this world! The audience gave him the green light once he stepped on stage. James’ single “Permission” is already a smash hit and it’s rising on the charts. He attracted the world with his diverse and authentic musical sound, so he was the perfect musical appetizer for the R&B veterans.
After James had performed, it was time for the Queen to arrive. Mary J. started her set with the single “Just Fine.” Despite all of the controversy and drama behind her divorce with Kendu Issacs, Mary still gave people what they wanted: the hits. Blige performed the songs that made her a bonafide superstar for over two decades. Fans re-lived the 90’s and 2000’s when she performed “Real Love,” “Not’ Gon’ Cry,” “Take Me As I Am,” “Good Woman Down,” “Love No Limit,” “You Bring Me Joy,” “My Life,” “I’m Going Down,” “Don’t Mind,” “Enough Cryin’,” “No More Drama,” “Share My World,” “I Can Love You ft Lil’ Kim,” “The One,” and her latest single, “Thick of It.”
“Thick of It” is a semi-autobiographical record that mentions the ups and down Blige went through during her 12-year marriage. It was further confirmation when Blige expressed to television journalist Robin Roberts about not being treated fairly in her marriage. In the interview, Blige said, “I mean, the breaking point was when I kept asking over and over and over again for respect and to be respected. And it just seemed like I was beating a dead horse and it seemed like I was talking to a wall. I just wasn’t getting it back so if I can’t get respect in the relationship, then I have to move on and save myself. That was the point where I was like, ‘I’m done. I just can’t do it anymore.”
She co-wrote “Thick Of It” with singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan as a therapeutic method to help other women overcome mishaps in relationships. Blige’s fans know she is the perfect messenger when it comes to expressing her innermost emotions in songs. Mary also mentioned how her fans’ gratitude and loyalty is helping her with her painful divorce.
The Queen also brought out Method Man aka Jonnie Blaze to perform her Grammy-award winning collaboration “You’re All I Need/ To Get By,” and the crowd went ballistic! The song was released in 1995, and it’s still a classic in 2016. She ended her segment with “Family Affair,” her first Hot 100 number-one single.
After Mary’s set, Maxwell was ready to add more flavor to the party with his signature songs, dance moves, and eye candy sex-appeal. He is still a pleasing dude to the music world since 1996; 2016 is Maxwell’s 20th anniversary in the music industry, and fans are still singing his records word for word.
Maxwell’s “Suit and Tie” captivated the crowd. He performed several hit-bangers include, “This Woman Work,” “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” “Fortunate,” “Sumthin’ Sumthin,” “Bad Habits,” “Lake By The Ocean,” “Lifetime,” “Get to Know Ya,” “Til the Cops Come Knockin’,” and the Grammy Award-winning single, “Pretty Wings.”
For over three hours, NYC partied with Ro James, Mary J. Blige, and Maxwell, a perfect treat for the holidays. Once the concert ended, the concert-goers will be talking about the show for days. It was truly a wonderful concert, and probably one of the best in R&B in a long time! Together, Mary J. and Maxwell are truly a force to be reckoned with!