Festival goers eagerly filled the Superdome last night in New Orleans for day one of the ESSENCE Music Festival, and they weren’t disappointed.
The legendary Pointer Sisters kicked off the show, followed by soulful diva Keyshia Cole, who popped on stage wearing her signature blond locks and a big smile. Cole knows her fan base well, so she instantly brought them to their feet by belting out staple hits from her catalogue like “Heaven Sent,” “Love” and “Make Me Over.” She also treated the crowd to the first ever live performance of her brand new single “Enough of No Love,” which features a guest spot from Lil Wayne.
After Ms. Cole wrapped her set, Trey’s Angels rose to their feet to welcome their number one guy, Trey Songz, to the stage for his third consecutive EMF performance. He was happy to be back in the building, kicking things off with a string of performances of his fan favorites, including “Neighbors Know My Name,” “Love Faces,” “Invented Sex,” and “I Need A Girl.” He also performed his two most recent singles, “Heart Attack” and “Sex Ain’t Better Than Love.” As a special treat for EMF fans, Trey debuted his brand new single “Dive In,” a sexy slow jam in his signature sultry style. (The crowd loved the catchy tune that’s sure to achieve summer slow jam success.) When Trey spotted a super fan in the audience holding a sign that read “I Want Your Shirt,” he called her to the stage screaming, “If you can make it up here, it’s yours.” Of course, she was there in flash, and the smooth crooner made it well worth her while adding in a sweet kiss and tight hug to seal the deal.
The much-anticipated performance of headliner D’Angelo came next – his first major live performance in 10-years. Expecting a big entrance, fans were pleasantly surprised to see D’Angelo casually stroll onto the stage and get right on down to business. The crowd rose to their feet as D’Angelo and his band embarked on one massive soul jam session that showcased his musical evolution and his bluesy blend of rock and soul we first fell for all those years ago. He closed out the set at his piano crooning sweet classics “How Does It Feel” and “Lady,” much to the crowd’s delight.
Charlie Wilson, who’s lovingly referred to by his loyal fans as “Uncle Charlie” when he graces the stage, closed out the show in style with another show-stopping performance. Stepping out donning both blue and white sparkle suits and those decked out fedoras he loves, Uncle Charlie performed GAP Band classics, like “Outstanding,” and radio hits, like “You Are” and “I Wanna Be Your Man,” much to the crowd’s delight. Headlining for the first time at EMF, Wilson raised the bar, dazzling fans with intricate group dance routines, glow in the dark costumes, and that non-stop energy he brings. Thank you, Uncle Charlie, for another unforgettable evening in NOLA.
Tonight, Tank, Ledisi, Kevin Hart and Mary J. Blige will take to the main stage. Will we see you there?