As R&B singer Brandy closed her show with her most recent hit “Put it Down,” it was clear that the general consensus among the audience was she had done exactly that on stage Friday night at the Lumiere Theater.
Although modestly attended (even though reports of sold-out shows loomed for weeks before her two-show engagement Friday night ), Brandy performed as if she were headlining a sold-out stadium tour as she showcased stage presence and energy to warrant her nearly 20 years in the music industry.
She left her heart and hips (thanks to some intense choreography) on the stage for her core fans to savor. It was apparent that Brandy came with something to prove from the start of the show.
“What About Us,” signaled the start of the show and the notion that Brandy is not to be toyed with on stage.
Bouncing and shimmying to the beat of her live band’s accompaniment, she didn’t miss a step or a note as she segued through a set that favored her latest release “211” but made room for classic Brandy – including “Have You Ever,” “Full Moon” and “Sitting On Top of The World.”
Known for her unassumingly pristine vocals and whispering vocal runs, Brandy has apparently re-invented herself as a tour de force on stage with her return to R&B.
She commanded the attention and energy of her audience –as she constantly engaged and interacted with her fans from each side of the stage during her 70 minute set.
Brandy even welcomed “American Idol” top ten finalist Curtis Finch Jr. to the stage where he wowed her with vocal riffs during her performance of “Wildest Dreams.”
“I’m stealing that for my next show,” Brandy said after giving him props and an opportunity to showcase his vocal prowess.
Although she seemed completely comfortable and natural, her relentless devotion to the performance was apparent from early on in the show and never wavered.
Her ability to both get the crowd on their feet and bring them to their knees was especially evident with her heartfelt renditions of the mid-tempo selection “Without You” from her latest release and “Almost Doesn’t Count” from her “Never Say Never” album.
Every move and every note was a calculated, serious matter that was filled with equal parts passion and intention. With this tour she is obviously attempting to return and stake her claim amongst the female songstresses in rotation – a place that she’s proven herself to be a veteran of.
The only downside of Brandy’s performance was that more people weren’t on hand to witness it. Perhaps the Brandy experience in St. Louis would have been better received had she been added as a featured guest on the bill of an artist with a larger draw.
While the sparsely attended show served as evidence that she is on the uphill of her climb, the sheer will she exuded while powering through her showcase proved that she has the chops and commitment to return to the top of the world – or at least the R&B genre.