Usher’s hits and misses at Perth RnB Fridays

Usher. Picture: Belinda Cipriano
Usher. Picture: Belinda Cipriano

POLITICAL correctness would not be at the top of anyone’s priority when attending a RnB Fridays event but that didn’t stop plenty of jaws dropping during Naughty by Nature’s set at the opening of the third annual tour last night in Perth.

The Grammy Award winning hip hop trio had connected with the crowd with the obligatory “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi” but in a later shout out asked “Where my white people at? Where my Aboriginal people at?” before launching in to a sample of Land Down Under.

It wasn’t the only cringe factor of the evening at nib Stadium with an “anything goes” fashion ethos that extended to bike shorts as seemingly acceptable concert-goer attire.

The event began inoffensively enough with soulful trio Next starting proceedings with Too Close for those who had kicked in to the weekend by 4.15pm.

Estelle followed and the first sing-along of RnB Fridays 2018 can be credited to her anthem American Boy which included a rework of her lyrics, changed to “I’ve never been to Perth before and I really like it…”

Slugger the Bear mascot entered the stage with Naughty by Nature who undoubtedly entertained with O.P.P., Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, Holiday and Hip Hop Hooray.

Ginuwine wore a jacket with his name on it, but there was no fear of the crowd not knowing who he was with songs like Hell Yeah and the essential to any old school Fridays song list, Pony, which was performed while he handed roses to adoring fans.

Taio Cruz was a final and welcome inclusion to the line-up, the British performer launching in to Hangover before telling the growing crowd “I think we should keep it going with hopefully a song you guys know.”

The song was Break Your Heart and people definitely knew it, along with Little Bad Girl and Higher which he recorded with Kylie Minogue.

“I wish I could stay with you guys all night, but I can’t, so I’ll sing you this song,” Cruz said as he started Dynamite.

A hot pink lycra-clad Eve commanded the stage, the Philly rapper performing Gangsta Lovin’, Let Me Blow Ya Mind, Who’s That Girl? and the booty shaking Tambourine.

Host Fatman Scoop gave a surprise performance of Be Faithful before Trey Songz heated up proceedings with Can’t Help But Wait, I Need A Girl, Dive In, Neighbours Know My Name, Bottoms Up and Slow Motion.

Spinderella cut it up more than one time as Salt N Pepa (Cheryl James and Sandra Denton) with DJ Spinderella gave everyone the “Salt N Pepa and Spindrella experience” that has been going 32 years.

The three women did not miss a beat as they went from Gitty Up and Let’s Talk About Sex to Whatta Man, Shoop and Push It, the latter including dance moves and jackets from the 1988 music video.

They also apologised for getting fans in to trouble from their parents for playing their music “about sex and pushing it.”

Usher. Picture: Tanya MacNaughton

Closing out the night were headliners Usher and Lil Jon who agreed to extend their shared set after T-Pain’s last minute cancellation due to family illness.

This may have been their downfall.

Being a fan of the king of smooth moves, Usher, makes it difficult to admit this final act started rather lacklustre, not helped by the screens either side of the stage going blank for a considerable amount of time with someone behind this reviewer remarking “This is bull****.”

The screens fired up, minus one, in time for Lil Jon to ask “Is Perth the loudest city in Australia?” before Snap Yo Fingers.

Usher returned to the stage for You Make Me Wanna, U Remind Me and U Got It Bad while his famous abs made an appearance during Nice and Slow followed by Confession Part II.

Lil Jon went solo for awhile which proved to be too much for many fans who started streaming out of the venue.

Things finally picked up again as Lil Jon got to Get Low, Gasolina and Shots while Usher finished strong with Caught Up, DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love (with a homage to Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean), OMG and Yeah before a group floss dance, Burn sung by torchlight and Without You, finishing to huge applause.

Usher. Picture: Tanya MacNaughton

RnB Fridays 2018 is in Melbourne tonight before Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney.