Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Down Low Top Secret Tour: Miami Show Review

Sun- Sentinel: R. Kelly's Bawdy Show Has The Fans Screaming
June 10, 1996

After a six-minute cartoon brought 9,000 screaming fans (capacity 10,000) to their feet at the Miami Arena, R. Kelly took the stage and asked the musical question: "Miami, do you want me to take off my pants?''

Whether or not he should remove his pants remained a dominant theme throughout Kelly's bawdy but well-staged show Friday night.

Top Secret: The Down Low Tour relied heavily on multi-media gimmickry.

Ditching the fog machines and explosions, Kelly's show featured videos and computerized images.
A large screen sliced the darkness, drawing attention to the animated short featuring Kelly as a cartoon mobster.

Once he defeated the animated bad guys, Kelly arrived on stage, via a stretch land cruiser. By the time he took the mike, Kelly's fans were absolutely panting.

So it seemed odd that he opened with Be Happy, a number that has received little airplay. During the song, when he held the mike out so the audience could sing along, the silence was embarrassing.

Undaunted, and still fully clothed, Kelly dashed from one corner to the other, working the stage like a gymnast trying to use all the mat.

Curiously, Kelly interspersed his performance with unnecessary profanity. A definite distraction from his sexy appeal.

Between all the dancing, writhing, stripping and video footage, Kelly did manage to sing, too. And when he did, it was powerful, soulful and sensual.

His performance, which lasted a little over an hour, included Bump n' Grind, Sex Me and Down Low.

While Kelly's self-titled latest CD, R. Kelly, gained recognition for having songs that are more romantic than the openly sexual songs on 12 Play, much of his stage show was a "grab your crotch" production. And there's nothing romantic about that.

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