I'd like to start this by saying that I sadly never had the opportunity to see Michael Jackson perform, but within the last two years I have seen two of his biggest fans own the stage just as Michael would have if he was still alive today. Last year I got to see Justin Timberlake take over the Pepsi Center on his 20/20 World Tour, and last night I had a chance to see Usher. Based off these two those performances, I think these prodigies to the Prince of Pop can fill the hole in my heart just enough to get by. Usher has always been one of my favorite artists - I can go back in my memory and name every single break-up mixtape I made to his songs. I still remember him and Tyrese going toe-to-toe in an abandoned junkyard in the video for the song "My Way"; I believe it was the first time "dance fighting" was ever introduced. From emotional songs like "Burn" to the biggest dance club party anthem of all time "Yeah", Usher has continued to entertain the world with his unique style and recognizable voice for a a decade now, and it appears he's continuing full speed ahead.
Opening the night was up-and-comer August Alsina. A young performer recently added to Def Jam's acclaimed roster, he's already garnered a huge following, and was a perfect opener for this tour. Judging by the crowd response, it won't be long before Alsina headlines his own tour. A quick set to open the evening, fans braced themselves for the next act: ursher ursher. This current tour, dubbed the URX Tour, is slowly winding down with only a handful of US dates left before it heads overseas. The tour itself is unique in it's focus on the personal patron experience rather than your typical large scale production. Fans have a chance to partake in the ultimate VIP experience which includes an exclusive meet & greet, soundcheck passes, dinner and drinks, a photo-op and much more. Backed by a full band and talented dancers, Usher entertained the 1stBank Center crowd for almost two hours with a tasteful mix of both new material and some old school medleys. Usher has always been well known for his ability to incorporate jazzy dance numbers into his performances, and nothing was more evident than his passion for dance during his live performance. With back up dancers swinging in perfect rhythm to the subtle yet impressive pyrotechnics and light show, it was truly a great concert experience from beginning to end. Crowd favorites included "Nice & Slow", "You Remind Me", "Burn", and even new hits like the Juicy J collaboration "I Don't Mind", the ultimate love letter to strippers everywhere. In between songs Usher left little time for banter, instead encouraging the crowd to partake in full verse sing-alongs, which went over pretty well. While the men took down notes, the ladies truly benefitted from this show, as many "ooh"s and "ahh"s were directed at the sultry singer.
Like I said before, only a few US dates are left on the tour, but if you're in a nearby city we suggest you splurge a little bit and catch one of music's most recognizable stars of the modern era. Trust me, you will not be disappointed by this stunning show, and fellas can maybe earn some extra brownie points by remembering to bring a lady friend along for the ride.