Kells rocks the city again

R Kelly

R Kelly

This past Friday night with a 90% chance of rain, R&B’s most shameless lover man brought his fans out in droves. The multi-Grammy award winning legend R. Kelly presented his “next 12 play” as he calls it: the ‘Black Panties Tour’ to Nashville. No stranger to Music City, he’s bounced around from Vanderbilt to the Bridgestone Arena, and has done a stint at the Ryman. His latest stop: Municipal Auditorium.

Kell’s voice remains one of the most flexible and inventive instruments in pop. Apparently, it’s too easy for him. He makes his performances seem effortless. No opening act or hype man needed, everything is done solo dolo.

Black Panties is a raunchy return to baby making music bathed in club friendly rap production. He stops lighting candles and starts dipping his wick. In 2011, the superstar had throat surgery that possibly saved his voice and also re-ignited his libido.

“We loved every minute of it,” said an overly excited female fan. No doubt about it, they came out for arguably the greatest contemporary R&B artist to emerge in the last two decades.

A common complaint amongst some fans was that it didn’t last long enough. They wanted more. Maybe they don’t realize that Kells has too many hits. Black Panties is album number 14.

It was almost a two-hour show. He made his way through the crowd on ground level. Women of all kinds went bananas. The interaction and inclusion with his fans was top-tier. He indeed had fun with it, basically dictating the audience to sing tunes such as ‘Contagious’ and ‘I believe I Can Fly.’ Kells also showed personal ‘in the studio’ videos as well as throwback music videos on the big screen. Some were for the audience’s amusement and some were intertwined as part of his routine.

Over the course of a 22-year career, R. Kelly’s music has co-opted everything from contemporary R&B to Gospel, international music, Hip Hop and power ballads. Robert Sylvester Kelly is one of the few people to record with both Celine Dion and DJ Mustard, and he’s never shied away from lewd subject matter. Lyrical content aside, the music still sounds good.