If you're planning to check out Jennifer Hudson headlining her first national tour, you definitely won't be disappointed.
Hudson does not dance. She doesn't lip sync. There were no surprise guests.
The Grammy/Oscar Award singer/actor just puts on a flawless and powerful vocal performance that will send chills through your body. That girl can sang!!!
I saw the J-Hud show on Thursday at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark, N.J.
Opening for her was the smooth-singing Robin Thicke, who performed for about an hour before giving way to Hudson.
Thicke performed nearly everything from his last two albums. When I spoke to Thicke recently, he told me he was in the studio working on his next album. He shared he's working with Pharell Williams once again. There were no samples of any new material during his set.
However, Thicke brought the ladies to their feet with his falsetto, which got annoying to me after about a half hour. It was just too much for me. It was like his falsetto got out of control on some songs where he tried to do too much.
Thicke also did his fair share of grinding and gyrating for the ladies. I think I ducked out of the way of a few pair of panties that were thrown at the stage. (j/k)
The 32-year-old crooner started with the uptempo "Magic" from his third album, Something Else. (most people only know of two albums, but he had an earlier release that wasn't very successful)
He performed "Shooter" and "All Night Long," but of course there was no Lil' Wayne who was featured on both tracks from his second album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke.
He performed "Dreamworld," which is think is worth noting because in the song he says, "I would say Marvin Gaye your father didn't want you to die." Coincidentally, the show was on April 2, which would have been Gaye's 70th birthday. The 25th anniversary of his death was on April 1. Gaye was tragically shot and killed by his father.
Thicke also covered some R&B classics: Al Green's "Let's Stay Together," Jodeci's "Come and Talk to Me," El DeBarge's "All This Love" and Bob Marley's "Everything is Gonna Be Alright." My favorite of the bunch was the El DeBarge cover. I could see him re-releasing that. The song is definitely in his vocal range. "Good song selection," as the judges would say on American Idol.
Other songs performed were "Wanna Love U Girl," "Sidestep," "I Need Love" [on the piano], "You're My Baby," "Shadow of Doubt," "Teach U a Lesson," "Can U Believe," and "Lost Without U."
It was 10 p.m. (two hours after the show started) and finally J-Hud, or should I say Effie, took the stage with a powerful vocal performance of "One Night Only" from the Dreamgirls soundtrack. I knew we were in for a great vocal performance after that. She sounds just as good, if not better than the studio recordings. She's just that good!
Other Dreamgirls songs performed were "Love You I Do" and "I Am Changing." Hudson won her first Oscar for her role in Dreamgirls, which also starred Beyonce.
Unlike Thicke, J-Hud has only released one album. But she managed to do some classics to fill her hour set. The covers she did were exceptional. She almost did the songs better than the original artists.
Hudson nailed Aretha Franklin/En Vogue's "Something He Can Feel," Chaka Khan/Mary J. Blige's "Sweet Thing" and Whitney Houston's "You Give Good Love."
J-Hud and Houston really need to get together and do a duet of that song. J-Hud told me in a recent interview that Houston is one person she would love to perform with. [click here to read that interview] Hopefully they can make that happen while Whitney still has it. It was Houston, who in February, presented Hudson with her first Grammy Award.
Fans in attendance thought Hudson closed the show with "Spotlight" and many started leaving when she began waving goodbye. But those who stuck around saw Hudson come back as Effie to cover Jennifer Holliday's "And I Am Telling You," also from the Dreamgirls soundtrack.
Other songs performed were "If This Isn't Love," "Pocketbook" [Hudson pumped around the stage swinging a purse, not quite a pocketbook..i think there is a difference], "You Pulled Me Through," "We Gon' Fight" and "Invisible" [my mom's ringtone].
Overall, the show was well-worth the price of admission. Hudson is a great performer live and doesn't disappoint. Often there are artists who sound great on recordings, but live, not so well. This was not the case with Hudson. She was amazing. Her set seemed to fly by really quickly, while Thicke's seemed to drag on. I was ready for him to leave after the first 30 minutes, but maybe it was just me.
Anyone going to a future show on the tour should brace themselves for Hudson. She will blow you away. The tour comes to New York's WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 10. It's sold out.