This past Friday the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live was treated to an evening of the smooth, soothing sounds of R&B artist Brian McKnight with accompanying acts by artists Musiq Soulchild and El DeBarge. The tour has been part of a busy year for McKnight following the release of his latest album More Than Words earlier this year.
And there was no doubt that McKnightâ€™s soulful touch would strike that special, romantic chord with the audience that night.
The first act to perform was R&B staple El DeBarge who established a mellow mood to start the night. His white smoking jacket, reminiscent of his Motown roots, went perfectly with his iconic falsetto voice.
And it was clear he was thankful to be performing for the L.A. crowd that night. â€œI just want to thank you for the second chance,â€ DeBarge said toward the end of his act. â€œI would like to thank the heavenly father for the second chance.â€ DeBargeâ€™s â€œsecond chanceâ€ certainly didnâ€™t disappoint.
Next up was Musiq Soulchild, a nice change of pace from the mellow DeBarge. His blends of hip hop, soul, and funk influences brought energy to the Nokia Theater. While perhaps not as polished and engaging as the other two acts of the night, Soulchild was nice change of pace before the final act.
Then came McKnight.
It was not surprising to hear all the cheers and screams as he took the stage and opened up with â€œFind Myself in You.â€ He emerged from the top of the stage in black tuxedo with a stylishly undone bowtie as he serenaded the audience. Undoubtedly all of his female fans felt a personal connection as they emphatically responded back to his singing to the tune of â€œI love you Brian!â€
Of course the vocal outcries prompted a response from McKnight. â€œI love you. I love you. But we should probably see other people,â€ he teased. Naturally that didnâ€™t stop the audience from trying to get his attention.
â€œI love you too,â€ Brian eventually responded back later in the show to one of his excited fans. It prompted an unusual response of another fan to loudly shout, â€œI love you more!â€
Sitting in the audience, you couldnâ€™t blame them for shouting their admiration. McKnight not only sounded great but showed that he had the dance moves to accompany his soulful music. Even his bassist, the much bigger Chris Loftlin, got into the dancing spirit during McKnightâ€™s numbers.
There was also a very intimate moment during the show when McKnight brought a young lady named Victoria to the stage. He presented her with a bouquet of roses and announced to the crowd that she was a cancer survivorâ€”news that immediately sent the audience into a cheering frenzy. Then made her the envy of every fan in the audience.
â€œDo you think I could be your boyfriend for the next five or six minutes?â€ he asked sweetly. He proceeded to serenade her; eventually putting his arms around her and giving her a lovely and polite goodbye kiss to send her off stage. The smile on her face was priceless.
McKnight then brought out his acoustic guitar and accompanied the rest of his band. As if the sexy sound of his voice werenâ€™t enough, he showed the breath of his musical talent as he simultaneously sung and played â€œCrazy Loveâ€. Not once did he miss a beat or note.
The night truly amounted to a special experience because of the rare talent demonstrated by Brian McKnight. Its hard to imagine another performer who can not only sing as well as he can but also have so much fun in the processâ€”a trait that radiates to the rest of the audience. Heâ€™s charismatic and charming, and audience members manage to feel like he is serenading them personally.
Its no surprise McKnight has continued to find success in the adult R&B scene, and that success will continue to come.
Photo Gallery: Brian McKnight, Musiq Soulchild and El Debarge