Mary (Necessary)


Wow. We went to the Mary J. Blige concert in Virginia Beach last night and it was one of the top 3 performances I’ve ever seen. I own every MJB record, every version of every song. To see her live has been on my Mondo Beyond list for a while and it was worth the wait. I was 19 the year her first album dropped (What’s the 411? 1992) and it is to this day one of the top 5 albums of my lifetime. Me and my 3 roommates listened to this CD for literally the entire first semester of our 2nd year at UVA. Picture us: a black, a white, a philipino and a 1/2 mexican chick all coming of age to one of the most influencial records in hip-hop/soul history with the CD on permanent “repeat” mode. Yeah, it was that good.

It was quite simply an experience. She sang with all of her heart, you could tell she loves to perform and that her work is so obviously the story of her life (heartbreaking, inspiring, soul mending). The closest performance I’ve seen in recent years is Erykah Badu at the Sugarwater Festival in Charlotte last summer. It was the kind of night you don’t want to end (and its 2am so that is saying something).

So tell us…what is the best/most memorable concert/performance you’ve ever seen? and what made it so special?

*photo by Michael Kurman

14 thoughts on “Mary (Necessary)”

  1. Wow,…The first thing that caught my eye was the photo. I was just about to comment on the shot, I mean its dynamic. I was totally impressed, but then I noticed you gave credit to the photographer. But, I am sure you could take a shot like that, you have gotten good at shooting.

    It sounds like you are slowly curing the back home blues. Now MJ, that would mismerize me. I am glad you can now mark her off the list. One thing you can say, is you have done more before you turn 30 something???(smile) than most people do in a lifetime. You only live once, I love that attitude.

  2. renee: *blushing* thanks chica, you’ve got some cool stuff under your belt too. I guess I’m just so in lurve with LIFE right now that I want to eat it up as fast as I can. I do have to remember to take s-l-o-w bites and c-h-e-w. But I want to see, do and go and most of all BE. Cheers to you I hope we can catch up soon!

  3. I read an interview with MJ a little while ago. She’s lived quite a life. Seems like she’s got her head in a really good place. She really is an inspiration. Not to mention beautiful and talented.

  4. So thinking on concerts… well… that’s a hard one. I saw Milli Vanilli but that didn’t turn out to be quite what I expectede (but I still think that they were hot – one of them passed away a while back…) I also saw Elton John. Now that was some concert. I will always be forever grateful to my first boyfriend for that gift. I don’t know that I will ever have the chance to see him again but I’ll never forget it. I remember was so stunned that he was actually there – breathing the same air. Then there was Harry Connick Jr. – he doesn’t know it but he is destined to marry me someday. 😉 Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  5. I will look up Mary J. Blige if she has such a profound effect on you – sounds promising. I don’t really go to concerts since I have noise issues (my brain picks up random noises and amplifies them – like the watch of a guy three rows away). But I think in attendance it would be a small pub we wandered into in Dublin, and had a great three hours of authenic celtic music – one of those bubbles of unrepeated sound.

    But I think the best was fulfilling a lifelong dream in performing with the Welsh Valley Orchestra in St. Davids Hall accompanying the duet from the Opera, the Pearl Fishers. I always loved that particular duet above all others and to actually play it professionally before thousands of people was unbelievably nerve racking, particularly as when you screw up on the double bass it is like screwing up on the trumpet, it is going to be noticed. I’d like to say that it was a great memory except all I can remember is getting to the end and thinking, “I did it, I didn’t screw up.” (thanks to Mary from the Welsh National Opera for that)

  6. i’m definitely having a “woulda, shoulda, coulda” moment. “My Life” is definitely that album that takes you back everytime. I have two inspiring concert moments: Meshell Ndegeocello at the Boathouse in Norfolk and Dave Matthews at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville. The Meshell show was intimate 40 people and I was no more than 5 ft from her, but the Dave Matthews show was the best day EVER in Charlottesville. Neil Young opened and Boyd Tinsely’s impovisation at the end of “Two Step” made me cry. Seriously… I’m glad you enjoyed Mary though. I’ll try not to beat myself up too much. Are you going to Sugarwater this year?

  7. E: You are so multitalented. I am always learning something new about you chica. i can’t say i’d know authentic welsh music from an irish ditty, but i’ll try (almost) anything once!

    LBoogie: Don’t kick yourself, we had a great time and wished you were there but since you weren’t….just kidding. When I saw Dave Matthews it was before they blew up, I remember seeing him (and Boyd) at the little ampitheater in the middle of campus in front of Russ/Rouss/Rauss? Hall whatever that place is over near the lawn. I just remember thinking that I had no idea what he was saying…but SATELLITE is still my favorite DMB song.

  8. damn. sugarwater is this weekend! I’ll be in ATL on bidness…maybe next year.i gotta see some of my other faves. Mariah, Missy, Jazzyfatnastees, etc…

  9. Ok…so after hearing what an awesome concert Mary is giving EVERYWHERE this year (Jernan in Raliegh, My cousin and you in Va Beach, and EVERYONE but Me at Nissan Pavillion in DC including the randoms who called the radio station literally crying right after the show) I broke down and bought a ticket to see her at HiFi in Atlanta. I’m going solo, but I wont really be alone…. Mary tends to speak to me personally in each and every one of her songs…and I’m not crazy she really does!

  10. Shameka: of course you aren’t any craz(ier) than the rest of us…i think every black chick on the planet relates to mary in a very personal way. i mean i’ve never met a sistah who doesn’t like mary, but i’ve run across people who aren’t fans of jill (scott), erykah or mariah. let us know how it is/was!

  11. I have to second that emotion…MJB at the Apollo was the BESt concert I ever went to. So moving, so spiritual, soothing yet raw. It was extremely intense with everyone hollerin’ and the whole historic building shaking. Amazing.

    i’d have to say a reallllly close second best concert was a Dolly Parton concert. I was never a big Dolly Parton fan or anythinig, but some friends were going and I joined them just for kicks. It was OUT OF CONTROL. The woman played several instruments – guitar, banjo, dulicimer, harmonica and more – and sang VIRTUOSICALLY. Her band was a bluegrass band and they were amazing, everyone was just SO skilled at what they did, and so joyful about doing it. The experience turned me onto bluegrass music, which really has some of the most impressive musicians around.

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