Last updated on July 6th, 2023 at 12:20 pm
Of all the R&B and neo-soul singers from the ’90s, few have the longevity and lasting cultural impact of Erykah Badu. In Friday night’s concert at the Xcel Energy Center, Badu showcased exactly why.
Over the course of the show, part of the “Unfollow Me” tour, Badu displayed incredible vocal command and stage presence across an excellent, hits-filled setlist.
By the time of the closing song (the eternally undeniable “Tyrone”), it felt like the audience reached a remarkable consensus on the caliber of the spectacle they’d just witnessed.
Getting things started was a remarkable opening act; yasiin bey is an elite MC with a resume going back to the ’90s. With multiple classic albums under his belt (including Black on Both Sides), bey has long been established as one of the best in the proverbial game.
To the delight of the fans at Friday’s show, his skills as a performer proved to be just as strong as his skills as a rapper. Whether dancing or just taking a light saunter during a lower-intensity moment, bey was always in motion and in command of the stage.
The visual element accompanied his dexterous raps superbly. By the end of the set, there wasn’t an audience member still in their seat, which is rare for an opening act and a testament to bey’s performance.
He was an excellent choice as an opener, and his music complemented Badu’s neo-soul leanings as well as anyone could expect.
Badu’s set started with a lengthy funky instrumental segment from her large and very tight band. This created a sense of anticipation for when she finally arrived on stage, as the eager audience exploded.
The fever reached new heights when she immediately launched “On & On,” perhaps her biggest hit. Opening with a song like that is bold, but with Badu boldness is an exciting and integral part of the equation. The set continued with hit after hit, including several selections from Baduizm and Mama’s Gun, her first two records.
Many of the songs were given funky reworkings by the band, which helped add impact and accentuated Badu’s consistently strong vocals. The visual production was also stunning, even by arena standards, creating a top-notch experience for the hyper-engaged audience.
Whether a deep cut or hit was being played, you could count on this crowd to dance and sing along passionately. For casual Badu fans to the most diehard, every member of the audience came out satisfied.