Erykah Badu @ Hammersmith Apollo 07/07/17
This year is the 20th anniversary of Erykah Badu’s acclaimed debut album; Baduizm therefore, she decided to tour and celebrate this with her Baduists, her die hard fans.
Erykahs unique sound and style which has been classed as neo soul or futuristic afrocentric are definitely progressive and always reflects her inspirations or journeys (musically and personally). The tracks from th eBaduizm album seem to be a collection of songs about hope and self- reflection, expressed in a spiritually philosophical and poetic way. The Grammy award winner and has produced ten albums and collaborated with artistes such as Roy Ayers, Outcast, The Roots, J Dilla, Common, Bilal, Jill Scott, D’Angelo, Bonobo, India Arie, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, as well as one of her UK soul inspirations and a Mi-Soul favourite, Omar.
The Hammersmith show was the additional date added as the first London date sold out in a matter of hours, it was full of many surprises that made it extra memorable.
The event promoters Neo Luv had their resident DJs entertain the early attendees with plenty of RnB, soul and reggae classics including Silly Games – Janet Kay; TLC – No Scrubs; Gwen McCrae – All This Love That I’m Giving; Cherelle ft. Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love; Mariah Carey – Fantasy and Erykah Badu – Next Lifetime. It was great to see upcoming UK neo soul electronica band member, NK OK from Blue Lab Beats amongst the crowd and he was humble enough to chat and take photos with fans as we all waited for the show to start.
Omars opening set put the crowd at ease with soulful renditions of his classics. Up and coming UK reggae singer, Harmonie Deja, blessed the crowd with an uplifting set that included Eternally and Melanin. Having seen Erykah Badu live a number of times, the only thing certain is that she would perform her classics in a unique way from the orginal recordings. By 9,30pm Erykah Badu stepped onto the audio visual stage to a funk version of Rim Shot (intro) by the live band, she sang some jazz then led us into On and On which had the crowd singing with her. She sang every track from the Badiuzm album, including favourites – Next Lifetime; Sometimes; Certainly; No Love; Drama as well as Love of My Life, Didn’t Cha Know and Tyrone. Omar came back on stage to sing the collaboration cover of ‘70s soul hit track, Be Thankful, with Erykah Badu (originally by William De Vaughn).
Two established USA hip hop lyricists, Common and Talib Kweli who both had London shows that night surprised us with a PA by joining Erykah Badu on stage. The crowd went wild, screaming with disbelief and to show appreciation.
It was an unexpected blessing to see three of the eleven Soulquarians on stage together. They gave us Talib Kwelis hit – The Blast and Common – The Light.