It was a full house at the Heritage Bank Center with Mary J Blige fans buzzing with energy and excitement. The feeling in the air was electric and the bonding was thick. Newbies wondering what to expect. Diehards whispering about their first concert. Anticipation permeated the air.
Known for evoking emotion and internal questions of the heart, MJB connects with the audience through her pain and life lessons. The struggle with accepting and acknowledging worth. The torment and impatience of connection. The reality of heartache. The value and freedom of accepting the past and the power of moving forward.
Blige engulfed the stage with all the pomp and circumstance of royalty. Using her alto to mezzo-soprano vocal range to command the audience’s attention with the show opener “You Remind Me,” the first single from her 1992 debut album, “What's the 411.” The crowd’s excitement grew with the beginning beats of “Real Love,” which samples Audio Two’s song 1987 song “Top Billin’."
Between three super short breaks (and mega sexy costume changes) emoting into song is a Blige aesthetic. “Not Gon' Cry” reminds us to concentrate on the inner strength gained when you focus on yourself. “Just Fine” teaches the importance of pushing forward and not allowing sadness and disappointment deter you from loving yourself. “Everything” is an ode to praise the one you love and be open about your feelings. “Good Morning Gorgeous” sings the importance of showing yourself love and being positive towards yourself.
Throughout the lessons in heartbreak and love, Blige has learned to hold herself in a positive light. Stop dwelling on history that can't be changed. Stay strong and be the motivator for you.
“Success comes when you are successful inside,” Blige stated in her Amazon documentary “My Life.” “For a long time I didn't know I was successful outside because I was a wreck inside.”
Your fans have always seen you, Mary. And we love you all the more reason for it.