Jill Scott performs in Camden, N.J.
Photo: The Recording Academy
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By Ashley Coleman
A full house of concertgoers from New Jersey to Philadelphia filtered into the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, N.J., on a drizzly Aug. 6 evening to catch GRAMMY-winning songstress Jill Scott perform in support of her latest release, The Light Of The Sun, during her Jill Scott's Summer Block Party tour.
The show began with a performance by Malika Kmari, who won a contest against thousands of artists for the chance to perform as the opening act. Following Kmari was R&B quintet Mint Condition, and by the time I got to my seat GRAMMY-winning soul singer Anthony Hamilton hit the stage. Hamilton dug into his southern roots with a tambourine in tow as he took the audience to church with a performance of "Prayin' For You/Superman," a track from his 2008 release The Point Of It All.
The evening's host, rapper/beatboxer Doug E. Fresh, kept the crowd entertained between sets with DJ Jazzy Jeff. Fresh took everyone back to the real block party days, playing favorites such as E.U.'s "Da' Butt" and Cool C's "Glamorous Life." There was no resisting playing Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie," over which Fresh freestyled while executing his signature dance that propelled the song to such extreme popularity.
The crowd was ready to receive Scott at around 9:30 p.m. as she walked onstage shining, both literally and figuratively, decked out in a sequin tunic top, tights and neon-green high-top sneakers. Backing Scott onstage was a band of heavy hitters featuring Randy Bowland (guitar), Aaron Draper (percussion), Chris Farr (saxophone), George "Spanky" McCurdy (drums), Dwayne Moore (bass), and Eric Wortham (keys). Scott was radiant as she welcomed the crowd with a performance of "Shame," a track from The Light Of The Sun.
Scott invited Fresh out to beatbox while she led the crowd in a rap-along to "Ladi Dadi," Fresh's hip-hop tune originally voiced by Slick Rick, before Fresh laid down the intro to "All Cried Out (Redux)."
Next, Hamilton came back onstage to join Scott for a performance of their duet "So In Love," the first single from The Light Of The Sun, and the chemistry between the two was refreshing. The power of Scott's next performance — "Le Boom Vent Suite," a tale of being underappreciated and finally deciding to move on — made me feel every word. Her deep "booms" pounded into the microphone, expressing the hurt over constantly waiting for that significant other to give her the attention she'd been waiting for.
Scott's show was the culmination of a woman who has grown over the last few years. All of the songs performed showed the good, bad and ugly sides of love and relationships. Her show was personal and very reflective of the Philadelphia culture from which Scott has been molded. The arrangement of her encore performance of "He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)" was breathtaking and operatic, showcasing the great range of her voice.
Scott ended the show with "Blessed," an upbeat tune expressing her gratefulness for her family, including her son, Jett Hamilton Roberts.
"I Love You"
"Ladi Dadi" (featuring Doug E. Fresh)
"All Cried Out (Redux)" (featuring Doug E. Fresh)
"Hate On Me"
"I'm Not Afraid"
"So In Love" (featuring Anthony Hamilton)
"Le Boom Vent Suite"
"A Long Walk"
"Come See Me"
"Cross My Mind"
"Imagination/Crown Royal Suite"
"He Loves Me (Lyzel In E Flat)"
To catch Jill Scott in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Ashley Coleman is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. Starting out as a GRAMMY U member in 2006, Coleman is currently the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Philadelphia Chapter.)