By: Ken Simmons
Kelly brought his ‘Black Panties’ tour to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on September 25, 2015 and titillated the audience with a 90 minute seduction featuring dozens of classic songs from his 25 year recording career. He performed without a band, relying solely on a DJ on a stage transformed into a sexy nightclub/lounge, complete with bar, bartenders, lamps, and black leather couches. A dozen ladies kept Kelly company on stage, sipping on cocktails and dancing to his massive repertoire of hits.
“The Pied Piper” set an erotic mood from the first note, playfully teasing the crowd with the over the top sexuality of his lyrics. Of course, he had his naughty, nasty moments, undulating his tongue as he sang “Cookie,” and graphically performing the X-rated version of “I’m Loving You Tonight.” Kelly had the crowd rockin’ to “Ignition,” and then created a frenzy with the “Fiesta” remix.
However, his long list of hits was a blessing, and a curse. In his effort to perform nearly his entire catalog, he sang mere snippets of many of his hits, frustrating fans who desired a full meal of their favorite song, not just an appetizer. The show also dragged when he left the stage for costumes changes, filling time with a bland video interview, and an unsuccessful attempt to simulate on a video screen texting his fans with questions about their favorite albums.
Following one break, Kelly appeared on a small stage in the middle of the arena for an a capella performance, displaying his powerful voice on “Slow Dance.” For his classic “I Believe I Can Fly,” the entire arena accompanied him word for word. Kelly expressed his appreciation to the crowd as he said, “I thank God and my fans for supporting me through the storm.” He resumed the eroticism, taking it back to 1994 for “Your Body’s Callin’” from the 12 Play album. “Can we keep it old school?,” he asked, and it took it old school with “Bump n’ Grind,” “It Seems Likes You’re Ready,” “When A Woman’s Fed Up,” and “I Wish.”
Kelly ended appropriately with his two biggest party jams. He had the entire audience on their feet in ecstasy, filling up the stage, and dancing in their seats to “Happy People” and “Step In The Name Of Love.”