Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Remember that time BGLU met Elliott Yamin? - Tia

I miss singers. I don't like gimmicks. If you sing, I want you to JUST SING. I don't want you dressed in a meat suit. I don't want you kissing other women when you're clearly not a lesbian. I don't want you creating an alter-ego. (Though I will give Garth Brooks a pass for that Chris Gaines project. That album was good. I don't care what you say.) I just want you to open your mouth and melodically produce words. THAT'S IT!

And that's one of the many reasons I love Elliott Yamin so much. He is a singer. You know what you're going to get when he grabs that mic and stands in front of you. He is going to sing. He is going to sing hard. And he is going to make you remember that singers, real singers with real voices, still exist.

Friday night's performance at 3rd and Lindsley was nothing short of amazing. It was worth the 5 year wait. From the first song to the last (which came all too soon) we were IN. The performance, the voice, everything about Elliott makes you want to cheer for him (and occasionally do body rolls). And it also makes you wonder how he came in 3rd place on Idol behind Taylor Hicks. ( did that happen?)

There was a nice mixture of new songs and old favorites which kept the show moving. While I was hoping to hear more songs from the Elliott Yamin and Fight for Love albums, I was more than satisfied with the set list. (Although I did ask him after the show why we couldn't get "Know Better." Apparently that song is really hard on his voice.) There's something to be said about performers singers who can captivate a crowd with unknown material. We've all been to shows where all you can do is wait patiently while the guy with the mic, "tries out some new stuff on you." I'm all for growth in an artist, but let's face it, doing all of the songs from your new album and none of the songs that put the bodies in the seats in the first place is not a good look. So I applaud Elliott for knowing the balance. Even in the unfamiliar, I found myself engrossed in the songs, occasionally with a hand in the air, singing along by the 2nd or 3rd chorus. In every song, new or old, there was a familiarity. You get the sense that you've heard this before but you never feel like you've heard it all before.

For those of us who have been fans since Idol, it was refreshing to hear that Elliott's voice is just as amazing in real life as it was on the Idol stage. Without the help of BGVs, the man still manages to sing in an unadulterated way. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention his backing tracks as well. There is a power and rawness that can only come through in a live show. And I welcome that. But there's something to be said about the polish that only comes with a studio. Elliott's own backing vocals are nothing short of inspiring. More than once during the night I found myself trying to identify who was singing back-up. For some reason, the purity of the backing tracks would not allow for permanence. You know you can sing when people forget that the music is not live.

If you're an Elliott fan, you won't be disappointed by his live shows. But I must warn you in advance, he is going to perform. Elliott is going to go ALL in. So if you are a shoe thrower, wear boots (as I did.) If you are a shouter, sit in the back. If you're prone to swoon...well, you're just going to have to be prepared. Elliott does not play fair. He will throw in SWV's "Rain" in the middle of "Movin' On" and make you shout Church of God in Christ style. (Shout out to my former and present COGIC readers.) You will not be ready for a "sistahgirl" reference in "Downtown" and get caught all the way up. And when he tears the roof of the place with "Wait For You", you may think you're ready, but you won't be. This show is not a game. But Elliott and his band came to win. (His drummer Royce Shorter, Jr is the absolute TRUTH!)

The most endearing part of the whole experience is Elliott's love for the fans. You can see during the show and afterwards at the mini-meet and greet, the man truly appreciates and adores the people who come to his shows. He is gracious and humble and it makes you want to be on his team even more. He doesn't just push you to buy the flash drive (which you should because the live concerts on there are well worth it), he doesn't just shake your hand and thank you for coming. He's genuinely interested in whether or not you had a good time. And you can see the gratitude in his face when you say that you do.

I admire Elliott. He's a hustler. He writes songs that make you feel good and then turns around and sings them in ways that hurt you in the best way. I can't wait for the next show. And if Elliott ever moves to Nashville...well, let's just say the game will change.


Alexis said...

This review is spot on! I felt exactly the same way throughout the benefit show he performed here in Clarksville.

As soon as I heard the first chord to "Movin On" I literally screamed (thank goodness I was in the back). And when the musicians had that transition in the middle I looked at my friend and yelled "Did they really just insert "Portrait of Tracy" into "Moving Om"?! Jaco Pastorius, really?! I am done!" My friend was puzzled until I explained that SWV sampled Jaco (Music Nerds: what up!).

It just frustrates me that there's such garbage on mainstream radio, followed by Tyrese suggesting even hotter garbage on twitter (yeah, I haven't let that go), but true singers like Elliott continue to fly under the radar. I need all of mainstream music to do better.

ToyaBGLU said...

This is Toya. Please know that I IMMEDIATELY went to Spotify to look up Jaco Pastorius. Thanks for that! Music nerds unite!

Anonymous said...

I enjoy Elliott and have seen him live a few times. I just have to say that I don't really find him much of a "performer" compared to other artists I've seen live, but he is an excellent singer with lots of soul.

Also..How "that happened" was that both Kat and Taylor received more votes than Elliott...simple enough!

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard Elliott sing since Idol except on a cd with Taylor Hicks. He sang Hide nor Hair with Taylor on the cd The Distance.
He sounded good. I would never run out to get his cd. Although, I think Elliott is a fine person. And I hope he does well.
In addition, as to how Taylor beat Elliott,
Taylor came in FIRST
Kat came in SECOND
Elliott came in THIRD.
It was the votes.

Anonymous said...

Two points:
(A) I was sitting right next to both of you at the Nashville show and ya'll were JAMMING throughout the whole set! How do I know? Cause I was jamming with ya'll! 2nd time seeing Elliott live.
(B) This dude is criminally underrated and I strongly suggest WHOEVER represents him get his 3rd album in stores NOW!

Marlene L said...


What a smokin' review! I love your way with words. Elliott is ALL THAT! He makes me feel things I've never felt before. His voice and music TOTALLY MOVE ME.

I chair danced, sang along, and swooned completely during his show.

Thanks for this GREAT review!

Monick said...

Thank you so much for another great article on Elliott. I first heard of your blog years ago because of one of your features on him. I too have been a fan of his since Idol and have been following him since on his journey. I saw Elliott Sunday(9/25) in Atlanta. Wow!!! The man never ceases to amaze me. Vocally he can do it better than alot of "so called" singers out there today. This was my 3rd time seeing him live within 2 years. He never disappoints and when he gets into his groove he truly shines. His God-given gift has been slept on since Idol. I hope that people wake up and see the true gem that he really is. Again thanks for a truthful and expressive read. I felt like I was reliving the show all over again.

ShellBee said...

I really liked your review of Elliott's show! I've seen him perform live three times and am always impressed by the fact that he sounds just as good in his concerts as he does on his CDs. I own four of them (e.g., "Elliott Yamin," "Elliott Yamin/Wait for You Premium Edition," "Sounds of the Season: The Elliott Yamin Holiday Collection," and "Fight For Love") and am happily awaiting the release of his next album, which is reportedly due to come out in the U.S. within the next four to five months. I look forward to reading more concert reviews in your blog. :)

P.S. I also agree that Royce is amazing!

Ivey said...

I haven't kept up with Elliott since Idol, but after that review, I may have to check out some of his stuff.

I also wanted to say that I'm with you on that Chris Gaines CD! That's the only Garth Brooks album I own, and there are some good songs on it, especially "Lost In You" and "My Love Tells Me So". Just sayin'...