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Concert Review: DC R&B Music Fest @ DAR Constitution Hall

Nostalgic R&B was the vibe on Saturday, October 15th, when two R&B titans brought their talents to the Nation's Captial. Headliner Keith Sweat and supporting act JOE were on the acts for the DC R&B Music Fest. I had the pleasure of seeing both artists earlier this year. However, both artists had short sets due to time constraints.

Thankfully since JOE and Keith Sweat were the only artists on the bill, they both had more time to perform. JOE rocked the stage for an hour-long set that began with "Stutter." He kept the momentum alive and flowing during his set, which delved through hits from his nearly thirty-year career. The crooner received thunderous applause from the adoring crowd while performing "Faded Pictures," "What If A Woman," "Good Girls," "More & More," "The Love Scene," and a cameo on Big Pun's classic "Still Not A Player."

However, JOE won the night for me when he performed "Jeep," "Table For Two," and a personal favorite, "Worst Case Scenario." Next to New Edition's "I'm Coming Home," "Worst Case Scenario" is a concert bucket list song I've wanted to hear for over a decade. JOE sang with the sincere pleading of a seasoned pro. JOE closed out his set with his signature song, "I Wanna Know."

After a twenty-minute intermission, the legendary Keith Sweat took the stage. Looking dapper in a red suit with the assistance of four dancers, backing vocalists, and an energetic band, Sweat began his portion of the show "Don't Stop Your Love," followed by " I Want Her." Mr. Sweat has been in the game for thirty years and has enough music to last him for hours. An expansive catalog allows Sweat to perform abridged versions of songs and fit more in.

Sweat performed fan faves, including "Merry Go Round," "There U Go Telli Me No Again," "I'll Give All My Love To You," and "Get Up On It." However, the highlight of Sweat's performance for me was hearing three songs from the LSG project. I've heard "My Body" at previous Sweat shows, but I never thought I'd hear "Door #1" or "Round & Round" live.

Kudos to Mr. Sweat for performing a medley of songs that he wrote for /with other artists that included "Let's Chill" by Guy, "Just Got Paid" by Johnny Kemp, and Silk's "Lose Control" & "Freak Me." As the night began to wind down, Sweat closed out his set with the haymaker's "Make It Last Forever," "Twisted," and "Nobody."

Ideally, Sweat performed every song I wanted to hear, although I would have loved another medley that compromised his later hits such as "I'll Trade (A Million Bucks)," "One on One," Love U Better," and "Test Drive." Nevertheless, Sweat is still a composite performer who more than gives the audience their money's worth.

Final Grade: B+


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