Thursday, November 19, 2009

R. Kelly's The Ladies Scream Tour

I watched an R. Kelly concert online via a new site called, the concert was actually being played in Dallas, Texas. The show began with R. Kelly’s own spin on Kanye West’s ‘Flashing Lights’, as he walked down a red carpet wearing a white blazer and blue jeans, typical apparel of Hip-Hop and R&B artists these days. The opening sequence immediately made me think of our discussion on Hip-Hop culture and how sampling plays a major role in the creation of music.

Within the first 10 minutes of the concert R. Kelly had gone through four hit songs, drawing the crowd in from the very beginning of the concert. Audience members sang along with R. Kelly word for word for many of his songs. The audience was full of mostly women, which makes sense considering the tour is called The Ladies Scream Tour.

One advantage to watching the concert on this website is that it offers five different camera angles, which enhances the overall viewing experience. Kelly made use of background dancers during the start of the show while playing his upbeat records, but ditched them once he began to play his slow jams.

During one of his songs R. Kelly began to grind and grab his crotch, while serenading the women in the audience. Kelly’s lyrics and physical actions were clearly an expression and assertion of his masculinity in his relation to the women in the audience, similar to Hedwig’s different expressions of her gender in relation to other characters. Also, R. Kelly’s body signals reminded me of the Courtney Love performance of ‘Doll Parts’ we watched in class. I recall some reactions being negative about Love spreading her legs open on stage while playing the guitar. However, when R. Kelly expressed his sexuality on stage verbally and physically, the women in the audience embraced it. Kelly even asked the audience “who wants to go all the way with me tonight?” while singing ‘It Seems Like You’re Ready’. This wasn’t the worst of it, while singing ‘Keep It On the Down Low’, R. Kelly went into the audience and grabbed a woman by the waist and began to hump her!

Overall I enjoyed watching the concert, but wouldn’t have paid to see it. R. Kelly is definitely a great artist, however I was not impressed with his live vocals. I actually enjoyed the live band more than anything else. I will admit Kelly is a good performer, perhaps a little over the top, but the man knew how to keep the audience two-stepping throughout the concert.

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