IT'S GETTING HOT IN HERE!
I was watching the odd and sundry videotapes that are stacked up in the TV cabinet, thinking I would recycle them and record new stuff or toss them out altogether, when I came across a D’Angelo video that I’d recorded from MTV or VH1 or somewhere. As usual I was mesmerized as I watched it and the memories came flooding back of the time I saw him live. He’s good on video and he’s good on CD – but there ain’t nothin’ like D’Angelo LIVE.
You may not know who D’Angelo is. I didn’t. My musical tastes, while wide and varied, tend more toward classic rock and soul. Yes I can sing along with Eminem and Jessica Simpson, but mostly because the aural environment is saturated with them and they enter my consciousness subliminally. When my friend Liz called me and said she had two tickets to see D’Angelo at the Universal Amphitheatre, and did I want to go, I said “Yes!” mostly because I am a game girl who will try just about anything. I mean you can always leave if it sucks right?
So we head out to the concert and Liz is playing D’Angelo’s CD, Brown Sugar on the stereo and it sounds a little bit like Prince meets Marvin Gaye – you know, Boot-ay music. That’s cool. The last time I’d said what the hey and headed out to Universal for free musical offerings it was to see Poison/Cinderella/Dokken/Slaughter, and even the fact that we were backstage the whole time and the fact that I was really curious, couldn’t balance out how bad it sucked. I will never understand the hair band thing – but that’s another story.
So Liz and I get to the ampitheatre and as we’re walking down, down, down toward the stage and our seats I am noticing that the audience is predominantly female. There are a few, and I mean very few, men scattered throughout. Hmmmmmmm. And Liz and I are about the only white girls around. Hmmmmmmm. Our seats are in the second row, stage left. The edge of the stage is about 25 feet from where we are sitting! Nice!
No sooner do we sit down than the houselights go down and the stage lights come up and the band is rockin! In addition to all the musicians there are three back up singers, two guys and a girl, all of whom are wearing what appear to be caveman outfits - lots of flesh, and leather and fur. They dance vigorously and then Heeeeere Coooomes D’Angelo! And the audience screams. Like they are screaming for the Beatles, these ladies are screaming. I am a little frightened and sit in my seat taking it all in, not quite sure how to behave. I am feeling like I need a little time to slide into the groove.
The music is good, very good, in fact. Better than it was on the CD. Probably because D’Angelo, who appears to be about 5’7” is one of the most charismatic and sexy men I have ever seen IN MY LIFE! He bumps and grinds and squeals and howls and sings about making love and shit, and I am starting to understand why the women around me are moaning and screaming in response. I want to do that to, but honestly I am too white to pull it off without sounding like a dork. Really.
But about midway through the show… when he gets to the part where he takes off his shirt… and he’s wearing these leather pants that I’m sure are custom made just for him because they grip his ass in back and, in the front, they fall just about 2” above his pubic bone, displaying the slightest bit of hair on a tautly muscled torso – howdy six-pack! My hand goes to my throat where I would’ve clutched my pearls if I were wearing them and I look at Liz and gasp, “oooohhhh!” I am now feeling D’Angelo. And the estrogen level in the concert hall is at dangerously high levels. As he begins to hand roses out to the women in the front row while singing sexily to them I cannot take my eyes off of him.
THEN he gets down on his stomach and starts humping his way to the edge of the stage! Which is only about 25 feet away from where I’m sitting. There is mass hysteria as the women from the seats above start charging down toward the stage to get them some D’Angelo! The security guards block their forward motion so that they are suspended on the stairs next to my aisle seat screaming in my ear, “I LOVE YOU D’ANGELO!” Oh my God, I know what they mean! And we all watch as he lazily sits on the stage with his legs spread and bent slightly at the knees, and he takes this girl's hand, who is standing in the front row at the edge of the stage. He takes her hand and as he sings and the back up singers croon along behind him, he slowly, very slowly brings her hand to his lips and SUCKS HER FINGERS!!!
And now we’re all on our feet screaming. There is fucking female pandemonium going on as he grins and stands up and goes to the stairs at the other end of the stage and walks into the audience. Oh my gosh he is amongst us now and his progress is visible by the heaving mass of women throwing themselves at him, attempting to climb the large, hulking mountainous bodyguards who surround him as he passes by allowing his fans to brush their fingers against his hard, sweaty body.
From that point on it’s all kind of an endorphin blur. The audience pulses and writhes to the call of his voice. We are his and he is ours and the men in the audience are just kind of hunkered down in their seats with a look of stunned amazement, tinged with the littlest bit of fear, on their faces. When he comes out to do the finale – you know the song – the one he sings in the video, while standing there completely naked – How Does It Feel. As he sings that song the women flow down the stairs again and it becomes a call and response. He sings, “How does it feel?” and the horns hit duh-da-dut, and the lady standing next to me yells back, “IT FEELS GOOD D’ANGELO!” and all around us women join in with “MMM-HMMMM”, “YOU KNOW IT DOES!” and other graphic commentary. And when he gets into “How does it taste?”, well they all tell him – “IT TASTES LIKE BROWN SUGAR BABY!” And it goes on and on until everyone is all sweaty and out of breath with our pink places atingle!
And then, just like that the show is over and I’m very certain that every single one of those men who brought their ladies to the show that night got to hit it in the parking lot. D’Angelo gives good show – I’m here to tell ya!