Firebrand Janelle Monáe and hometown icon Bilal warmed up the crowd at the Tower Theater for Erykah Badu’s Out My Mind, Just in Time Tour. Monáe’s brief set introduced people to her shifty dance style, jumping up onto a table to pull out android antics. She wrapped up with the anthemic “Cold War” and, newest single, “Tightrope” that sounded positively smashing in the theater. Bilal took the stage in his leather jacket and shades, to seduce the audience with “White Turns to Grey”. He also brought his melodious touch to Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”.
After a lengthy intro with a DJ mixing songs and creating a house party atmosphere as well as a video projection, Badu sauntered onto the stage. Her attire was quite an amalgamation as she sang “20 Feet Tall”. Standing on black heels with a black, red and yellow shawl over one shoulder and a dignified top hat, she eventually defrocked down to a yellow tee and gray sweatpants. Badu’s jewelry was also remarkable; she wore massive gold and ankh-shaped rings on both hands, gold leaf earrings and a gold necklace forming the word “mars”, which oh-so-often caught the spotlight reflecting it back from her heart into the audience.
Badu pulled the song “Appletree” off of her first album, then jumped forward to a song from her newest release, “Fall in Love”. After, suggesting that no one should love her, she shamelessly proved she would torture the man who did with “You Loving Me”. Her confession “you’re loving me and I’m fucking your friends” garnered some guilt free laughter from the audience. Then tapping on the drum machine by her side, Badu inflicted some super heavy bass frequencies on the audience. She closed with the hazy reflection, “Window Seat”, letting the audience ride out the night on a blissful groove.
Even with an unnecessarily prolonged introduction, the night ran smoothly. With little break, Badu performed for nearly two hours, sharing her warmth and passion with a rapturous audience.