En Vogue are still awesome, endorse Obama

Categories: Concert Review
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If my 13–year–old self had known that I would be attending an En Vogue concert 16 years later, my tween self would have been impressed. Fortunately, I didn't have to rely much on nostalgia in order to enjoy the show, and my 29–year–old self genuinely enjoyed the performance.

It was comfortably crowded in the sectioned–off concert area of Loring Park. The front area surrounding the stage was packed with guys enthusiastically jumping up and down, women slow–dancing regardless of the rhythm of the music, and wandering groups of people. Further back people sat on the grassy slope, casually sipping Budweiser or snacking on gyros from the food court. Earlier that evening rockers Sunshine Behavior lived up to their name; their lead singer dancing about, cheerfully shirtless. All–girl punk rockers Sick of Sarah and R&B singer Deborah Cox also help open the show, with DJ Red Richard spinning tunes between acts, occasionally kissing another shirtless guy on stage when prompted from people in the crowd (this was, after all, Pride Fest).

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People applauded giddily as the cops cars and golf carts drove up behind the stage with the headlining R&B quartet. Billboard ranks En Vogue as the eighteenth most successful act of the 1990s, so it was no surprise that they didn't lack for recognizable hits during their hour–long set. Rainbow flags and iPhones were head aloft as they kicked off with perhaps their most well–known song, "My Lovin' (No You're Never Gonna Get It)". They followed things up with a few other more recent tunes, and a feel–good mega–mix of '70s tunes, ending in Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real"

Other crowd–pleasing hits included singing and rapping to "Whatta Man", their collaboration with female rap group, Salt–N–Pepa, and "Hold On", a song whose a cappella opener still impresses and brings down the house, much in the same way that Alicia Keys' "Fallin" does.

Banter was mostly kept to thanks from the group, though before ending the show with anti-prejudice song, "Free Your Mind", the group gave a shout–out to Barack Obama, asking the crowd to raise their fists in solidarity for change, which was loudly cheered.

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Overall, the enthusiasm of concert goers and performers was reciprocal, the music was sung live, and the dance moves were clean, simple, and well–executed. En Vogue comes from a long tradition of class acts reaching as far back as the Supremes. It's hard to imagine current female groups like the Pussycat Dolls or Girlicious being able to pull something like this off in ten years. I'm sure it will happen, but I don't know that I will be as impressed.


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