Music & Nightlife

Concert review: Chris Brown lives up to his reputation

R&B artist Chris Brown performs Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
R&B artist Chris Brown performs Saturday at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. earriero@charlotteobserver.com

R&B singer Chris Brown lived up to his reputation as an impressive live performer Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Arena.

His famous Michael Jackson-esque moves didn’t disappoint as he gyrated, popped and locked and moonwalked all over the stage.

His swagger and charming boyish smile left thousands of women screaming, some even saying, “Marry me, Chris” and “I love you!” And his vocals and raps were crisp and enthusiastic.

In February, Brown postponed a concert scheduled for Charlotte. Although a news release issued by the promoter at the time did not provide a reason for the postponement, nearly two weeks prior, Brown had informed fans via his Instagram account that he needed to postpone his “Between the Sheets” tour because of legal obligations.

At the time, the singer still needed to complete roughly 100 hours of community service tied to his 2009 felony conviction for assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna. Because he failed to meet the original 1,000-hour commitment by the set deadline, Brown said at the time that his travel plans were put on hold by the Los Angeles judge assigned to his case.

But on Saturday, there was no mention of the postponement, much less an apology, from Brown.

But the fans didn’t seem to mind, filling the arena with deafening screams when a digital clock counted down the 10 minutes before the concert’s 8 p.m. start.

Tyga, who opened for Brown, started the night off strong with his swinging single “Make it Work.” The good vibes continued as he flowed from one song to the next, including “Versace Versace” and “Dope.”

And while his performance was upbeat and solid, it was distracting that he just couldn’t find the spotlight. His face and body were hardly visible as he walked around in the dark, digital screens playing behind him.

At about 8:20, Tyga closed his set and, from a door at the rear of the stage, Brown emerged in dramatic fashion: dressed in black, slowly trudging forward, his body hunkered over slightly. He began singing the opening lyrics of “X,” the song off his 2014 release of the same name.

As the beat picked up, so did his gait. And soon, he was bouncing around the stage, passionately singing out the chorus as men on a second level of the stage danced above him and a confetti of colors rained across the screen.

He segued into “Came to Do” and “Love More” before addressing the audience.

“Y’all came here to party tonight, right?” he said. “Can I do my thing, then?”

And if by “do my thing,” he meant giving a captivating performance with just enough stage production to be interesting without being distracting, a back-up dance troupe with an enviable repertoire of moves and an unrelenting energy that had the whole place feeling like a nightclub, then Brown delivered.

He moved through hits such as “Run It,” “Wall to Wall” and “Deuces” before the stage went black and silent around 8:55 p.m.

Brown disappeared for several seconds before re-emerging for the stripped-down, slow jams portion of the concert.

Brown, dressed in an Army-green vest over a white, sleeveless shirt, wooed the crowd as he sang sultry and sensual songs such as “Take You Down,” “2012” and “Don’t Judge Me.”

By 9:08, the stage went dark again, this time with Tyga re-emerging to rap a few more songs before Brown, back in all black, joined him on stage. The pair sang their collaboration, “Holla at Me,” before continuing on to other collaborations they’d created for their 2015 album, “Fan of a Fan: The Album.”

Around 9:15, special guest Fetty Wap appeared to perform his single, “Trap Queen,” with Brown and Tyga.

With all of the energy on stage, the end of the show came rather abruptly – and seemingly too early. After all, Brown had spent little more than an hour on stage, which seems short by today’s standards. He didn’t sing some of the songs in their entirety, so he still was able to move through nearly two dozen numbers.

Brown and Tyga performed “Loyal,” which would be the last song of the night, as his back-up troupe danced around in light-up white suits. Toward the end of the song, Brown thanked his stage crew and the other performers.

“Most importantly, make some noise for yourselves,” Brown told the audience around 9:40 p.m. “I love y’all and I appreciate you coming out.”

A storm of red and white confetti was released, Brown took off his shirt and threw it into the crowd, and then he disappeared.

Arriero: 704-358-5945;

Twitter: @earriero

  Comments