Tonight, I caught Angelique Kidjo at the Ram's Head in Annapolis MD. I have had three other opportunites to see her live, and things just never worked out. I really like her work, so I was pretty much going to go and see this show come hell or high water.
The show was one of the more higher energy shows I have seen in quite some time. I've been to several shows at the Ram's Head, and this is the first one that most of the crowd was up and dancing for a majority of the time. Granted, Ms. Kidjo was rather insistent that people get up and enjoy themselves, but her music has such an infectuous rhtyhm that she didn't have to prod all that much or all that hard. She even invited the entire crowd to come up on stage with her for one song for a communal dance.
Her backing band has been with her pretty much non-stop for the last three years, and it shows. They were very tight with each other, with good communication and sharing. I didn't manage to catch their names, though. Sorry 'bout that.
Most of her set came from her latest album Black Ivory Soul, with a healthy helping of her most popular songs from albums past. She does an Afro-pop sound very well, and her latest foray has been into Brazilian influences. The fusion of the two comes out with flair.
This show marks the second time that the encore was an actual encore. Angelique did the usual thing, where she walks off stage, but the house lights don't come up, nor does the band even pretend that they aren't coming back. So they came back, and went through two more songs. When they were done, though, the backing band started to move to take off their instruments and go off stage when Angelique waved them off to play another song. She did this one more time, and then said that they really had to go.
All in all, this was a really good show; I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys world or pop music.