On Monday, September 25th, the renowned band Tony! Toni! Tone! brought their reunion tour to MGM's Theater at National Harbor. The tour is named Raphael Saadiq Revists Tony! Toni! Tone!: Just Me and You. After disbanding in 1997, Saadiq pursued a successful solo career following the release of their fourth album, House Of Music. Meanwhile, his brother D'Wayne Wiggins and cousin Timothy Christan Riley continued touring with a new lead singer, Amar Khalil.
I have had the pleasure of experiencing Saadiq's individual performance and the version of the group led by Khalil in person. While both put on amazing shows, I was excited to finally witness the original line-up's first tour in almost 30 years, having only seen them through YouTube videos.
The show features two halves. The first part features the Tony's catalog, and the second half focuses on Saadiq's solo work and his collaborations with other artists. At approximately 8:15, the show started with the group taking the stage to a warm reception from the nearly sold-out crowd. Saadiq kicked things off with an engaging performance of "It Never Rains In Southern California" and then proceeded to take the audience through the group's first four albums.
Some of the hits performed included "Little Walter," "If I Had No Loot" and "Thinkin Of You". The group also blessed the audience with album tracks such as "For The Love Of You" and "My Ex-Girlfriend." The Tony's have always brought their A-game to Slow Jams, so it was a welcome sight to see couples slow dancing to "Whatever YoU Want" and "Slow Wine," which D'Wayne Wiggins slayed. The show's first half ended with Saadiq seducing every lady in the audience with a tasteful performance of the still classic "Lay Your Head On My Pillow."
Following a brief intermission, the group returned to the stage to showcase some of Saadiq's solo material. Fans were delighted to hear "Still Ray", "Be Here," and, of course, "Ask Of You." Raphael also dipped into the Lucy Pearl album, performing "Dance Tonight" and a brief snippet of "You." However, my favorite portion of the show's second half was hearing "Still A Man" from the group's fourth album, House Of Music. Saadiq straight took us to church with that one.
As the night began to wind down, "3T" paid homage to the late great John Singleton via archive footage that perfectly transitioned into a lush acoustic version of "Just Me & U." The night concluded with a triple TKO of "Let's Get Down," "Anniversary" and "It Feels Good." My only compliment with the show is that Saadie didn't do a medley of songs he's written for other artists or perform anything from his later solo albums.
Nevertheless, it was a filled night, and I may try and catch a show in another city. Younger R&B acts should take notes from Tony! Toni! Tone! reunion tour as they can still bring the group the house down.
Final Grade: A