Eric Roberson's Soulful Night in Bethesda
On Saturday, July 15th, Eric Roberson brought his signature style to a sold-out crowd at Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club. Next to New Edition, Eric Roberson is the only other artist I make sure to see whenever he's in town. I've enjoyed seeing Mr. Roberson live ten times in the last nine years, and he never disappoints.
Despite a late start and a broken A.C. unit, Roberson graced the stage like a true professional. Opening with the fan-favorite "Been in Love," Roberson transitioned into an R&B freestyle, where he sang about the heat in the building to let the audience know he could feel their pain. Roberson, who has written for Will Smith, Jill Scott, 112, and Charlie Wilson, performed songs from his ten album catalog. Roberson's setlist included "Borrow You," "Dealing," "Mark On Me," and his signature cover of The Notorious B.I.G. classic "Big Poppa."
Roberson also took the time to inform the audience of his music trilogy "Earth, "Wind," and "Fire." "Earth" focuses on self-empowerment and the songs he performed from the album ("Million Dollars" & Superman") both came across great with the audience. "Million Dollars" is a song about not needing money to be happy. At the same time, "Superman" is an uplifting song about Black Boy Joy.
Roberson then made his way to songs from the "Wind album," which is about love. "Wind" will be released to the public this coming Friday, July 21st, and having heard the album myself, I can assure you it's some of Roberson's best work. Roberson decided to introduce the audience to the lead single "Love Her" and one of my top songs of the year, the Will Downing duet, "Lyrics of Pleasure." "Love Her" is a mid-tempo track with a neo-soul groove, while "Lyrics of Pleasure" is a sexy slow jam that's for the lovers. Roberson didn't perform any material from "Fire." He did mention he envisions the album as his "What's Going On" album. It will focus on issues ranging from our current President to police brutality and, last but not least, social status.
No Eric Roberson show is complete without Roberson making up a song with words suggested from the audience. As Roberson closed out the show, he made up a song combining words such as cupcake, machete, and autopsy. One would think it would be humorous, but Roberson always succeeds with his signature songs on the fly
Without a doubt, Eric Roberson is still one of the best LIVE performers I've had the pleasure of seeing as an avid concert-goer. With smooth vocals and a passion for his audience, Roberson continues to shine as one of his generation's best performers.
Final Grade A –
Photo courtesy of Derrick Steward