Thursday, October 30, 2008

Maxwell Pelted with Bra and Panties from the Front Row

Maxwell Live Show Review!!!

By Rachel Swan
Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 4:34 PM

Only one pair of panties were thrown at last night's Maxwell show, and it looked like they hadn't been broken in, yet. The panties were extra large and white, styled like floppy little-boy briefs. A phrase stamped across the back became legible when Maxwell stretched out the elastic with his fingers: "I Heart Maxwell."

Granted, panties are expensive, and we're in a recession. They might not have been as expensive as the black brassiere that came flying from another adoring fan. But they're expensive enough to justify not wanting to adulterate your favorite Victoria's Secret G-string and hurl it at the Paramount Theatre stage. No matter how much you love thirty-five-year-old, edgily handsome, multi-platinum-selling Maxwell. No matter what he promised earlier in the evening. (In the middle of his set, Maxwell asked if someone in the audience was planning to lie on top of him later that night. He also dry-humped the floor and said "I'm gonna chop you up like vegetables and eat you like you've never been eaten before."). It didn't even matter that he dedicated "the next song to the future panties that will be on this stage."

Here's a clip of Maxwell singing one of the songs he performed last night, "Fortunate":

Only one pair of panties were thrown at last night's Maxwell show, and it looked like they hadn't been broken in, yet. The panties were extra large and white, styled like floppy little-boy briefs. A phrase stamped across the back became legible when Maxwell stretched out the elastic with his fingers: "I Heart Maxwell."

Granted, panties are expensive, and we're in a recession. They might not have been as expensive as the black brassiere that came flying from another adoring fan. But they're expensive enough to justify not wanting to adulterate your favorite Victoria's Secret G-string and hurl it at the Paramount Theatre stage. No matter how much you love thirty-five-year-old, edgily handsome, multi-platinum-selling Maxwell. No matter what he promised earlier in the evening. (In the middle of his set, Maxwell asked if someone in the audience was planning to lie on top of him later that night. He also dry-humped the floor and said "I'm gonna chop you up like vegetables and eat you like you've never been eaten before."). It didn't even matter that he dedicated "the next song to the future panties that will be on this stage."

Maxwell's fans — the ones in attendance at Wednesday's Paramount show, at least — are a delightful mix of chic single women and gay men, and like, five or six straight men, but they're the most sensitive straight men in the world. They filled up only about half the theater, owing to the fact that Wednesday's show was a hastily-added (and thus under-publicized) addition to the Tuesday show that probably sold out months ago. It was a sexy and unctuous show, given that Brooklyn-born Maxwell (whose mixed Puerto Rican and Haitian heritage may account for his dusky good looks) is a born sex symbol. That night he wore a silky designer suit with a tie draped around his neck, and had all the members in his eleven-piece band dressed to the 9s. Ten band members wore tuxes, while one percussionist opted for a solid black ensemble. His background singer, Latina, wore an evening gown.

Opener Jazmine Sullivan kicked the show off right at 8 p.m. by singing her album in its entirety, starting with the famous "Busting Windows" song — plastic crowbar and all. Her set reached an apotheosis with "In Love with Another Man," which sounds more like a gospel tune, even though its lyrics center on a broken relationship, and getting seduced by someone who's no good for you. Sullivan also struck a high note with her most popular radio hit, "Need U Bad" which closed off the set — she ended by improvising over a long vamp. Twenty-one-year-old Sullivan is being merchandized in the same mold as such raspy-voiced, tough R&B singers as Keisha Cole and Lauryn Hill, though she clearly has more talent and a wider range than both predecessors. She has the hard-bitten vulnerability of Mary J. Blige, and could eventually work a crowd as well as Blige does, though the comparison is still flattering to Sullivan. Obviously this young woman's gospel and jazz background has helped solidify her pop career. She knows what she's doing, looks comfortable on stage (even in poorly-chosen Capri pants and what must have been six inch stilettos), and her band — a rhythm section and two background singers who could easily be the same ones on the album, had I a set of liner notes in front of me -- sounds clean as day to boot. (Some even say Sullivan was trumped by her background singers, though I couldn't agree with certainty).

(Here's a clip of Jazmine Sullivan singing "I'm in Love with Another Man" for staffers at Seventeen magazine: Maxwell was fabulous. Clocking in at roughly an hour (even with two encores), his set featured all the hit songs of his career ("Ascension", "Sumthin' Sumthin'", "Lifetime", "This Woman's Work"), which were all so massively popular that even if you don't own a single Maxwell album, you'd enjoy this show. Already known for his engaging stage presence (he always wears designer suits, strangles the microphone, and dances with the kind of elasticky body movements that you'd expect from less-talented crooners like Usher and Chris Brown), Maxwell showed he's also a competent band leader. He showcased several members of the band, including the two bass players (whose names now elude me), saxophonist Kenneth Weber III, and trumpeter Keyon Harold, a New School grad who also plays with Jill Scott and Jay-Z. Maxwell has a few fidgety stage movements that can be distracting — his right hand trembles when he's not using it to grab the microphone stand — but his falsetto is so powerful that it more than compensates. He closed out last night with the ballad "Whenever, Wherever, Whatever," sung over an acoustic guitar and drum mallets. Then he had the whole band come center-stage and introduce themselves, which seemed like a chivalrous gesture. Jazmine Sullivan, take note.

Here's a clip of Maxwell singing one of the songs he performed last night, "Fortunate":

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