Tollwood grooves to Erykah Badu's style
Erykah Badu is one of a kind. Her stage performance is a real cultural experience and her concert at Tollwood Sommerfestival had a special trade mark: the lightning pose of the Jamaican runner Usain Bolt - "sky is the limit".
This wasn't her first concert in Munich and she wasn't here to promote a new album, but the moment she appeared on stage, one could tell she was swimming in her own waters.
The audience had waited long enough for the start of the show, however, she kept the crowd on their toes for about 30 minutes longer before she started the concert with a rhythmical percussion intro. Then, pulling off her little angry look and screaming, "Hello Munich!", she transitioned into "20 feet tall", a song from her latest album New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh, 2010). From this album, she also played "Gone baby, don't be long", "Umm Hmm", "Agitation" and "Get MuNNY". In between the songs, she played her digital drum, juggled the sound and toyed with both the songs and the crowd's minds.
On stage, Erykah Badu sent messages not only through neo-soul music style and prominent voice, but through her eccentric demeanor and style. Known for her explicit fashion sense, she abandoned her customary huge afro head wraps only to substitute them with a hat and trench coat. She accessorised this with super hero-style golden armlets, which made her look somehow supernatural. In her patent leather high heels and loud pink skinny jeans she looked both feminine and striking. Her simple white t-shirt with the slogan "I'm an Immigrant" just reminded us how powerful she was. And that she was not afraid to show the world what she thought.
Her band made sure the soft soul rhythm was chaotically mixed up with percussion, bass guitar, drums, flute, keys and all that jazz. The songs of Erykah Badu created an intense medley of sound and light. She fired up the crowd with the energy of a fighter, yet she reminded us that it is love that drive us in the world. She softened this electric mood, and thus created an intoxicating atmosphere.
For the record, Erykah Badu has released 5 studio albums and 1 live one. The most successful of these are Baduizm (1997) from which she performed "On and On" and "Apple Tree"; Worldwide Underground (2003) from which she sang the impatiently awaited "Love of my life", "Think twice" and "I want you, and lastly Mama's Gun (2000), from which she performed "Didn't ya know", which turned to be a very emotional performance for her, dedicated to her dearly departed brother.
Of course, she would not finish the concert that easily. As an encore, she delighted the fans with her latest single "Window seat", followed by "Bag Lady" during which the singer actually jumped into the crowd. While singing the refrain, "Bag lady, let it go, let it go, let it go" she added: "You have only one chance in this life time to be yourself." She wanted to make sure that we understood her, and not only did we understand her. We believed her. We were still calling her back on stage as she said her final goodbye.