This review was originally written for the Daily Star, found here.
R&B queen Mary J Blige can always be counted on to pack out a concert — and fans both new and from her 90s heyday packed in to see her at this year’s iTunes Festival.
She strutted out in her iconic glam style, massive shades, miles of gold-studded leather and stiletto shoes sharp enough to kill a man.
Leading on her major 90s hits, the lyrics were instantly on the tips of our tongues, from Real Love to You Bring Me Joy.
Each song was done large and jazzy, as Mary body rocked and strutted across the stage, with the crowd chanting “Go Mary! Go Mary!”
After picking choice cuts from her top albums, she then went into songs from her new album The London Sessions, belting out ballad Stay With me, co-written with Sam Smith, and leaping to the house-style pulsing of Disclosure’s F For You.
Both tracks were wonderfully performed, even if Sam Smith’s entry lacked the punch of Mary J’s standard, but the lull in iconic hits made the audience notably restless.
She must have seen this coming because when the set started lead into its final songs with No More Drama and Family Affair, the crowd exploded like they were holding their breath until this moment.
Near everyone seated sprang to their feet cheering and stomping as Mary sank to her knees, putting every last drop of power into her voice.
Mary J Blige sets aside the elaborate choreography and set piece-heavy acts in other R&B live acts and knocked me out with pure style and passion, even in her quieter numbers.