Saturday, November 28, 2009

Devine Day 1

Ms.Devine was all that and more as she waltzed into the intimate Rrazz Room Friday night on the arm of a club escort. Shimmering in a stunning dress one needed shades to look at, not really, she, microphone in hand started singing on her way to the stage about love, about the evening about "this One Night Only," unless one chose to return on subsequent nights. In a tasteful selection of both original and classic tunes --pop, rap and blues, she told stories about her life--a black woman in show biz, where one doesn't say too much if one wants to keep working.

After introducing the band, whom she'd met and rehearsed just that afternoon, the singer began the lovely, "I Believe in You," followed by my favorite Bill Withers's tune, "Just the Two of Us." I wondered if she'd seen the documentary, Still Bill, and if she knew the artist. Her arrangement of the song made the classic smile like new.

"I know you want to know more about me," Devine stated, "and I'll tell you some stories. You're probably used to seeing me in wigs, but Good Hair scared the weave off me. I'm going natural. If you hadn't shown up I was going straight to the airport and back home."

"All the Great Lovers," an original sweetened the room and Devine who was working hard said, Yall got me sweating up here like Whitney Houston." The way the stories set up the songs like her Panties and Pearls for "I Can't Make You Love Me If You Don't...and her song about a man who took care of his women, the "Chef of Distinction," reminded me of those coded songs the blues women sang about plumbers and handymen.

What is a show without audience participation? Again, another story, this one about Devine's stage son, Chris Brown, and Rianna's fans jamming his "stage mom" for her "son's" behavior. "They 'Wanna Be Starting Something," she said. It was interesting hearing the song without the additional singers, except where we came in.

Jasmine Sullivan's "I'll Bust the Windows Out of Your Car" must be a popular song presently, as this is the second show in less than a month that an artist sang it. In San Francisco, the Carolina Chocolate Drops performed a folk version of it which is really cool, and then there is Ms. Devine, who was so tickled when the audience started laughing --we couldn't imagine her "busting out" any one's windows, that the words flew out of her mind as she tried to regain control.

So captivating, the pianist was listening to Devine's story, not his cue and she had to count it off again.

"Don't Explain," "Everything is Moving On," "Anything You Want, You Got It," and the encore, Abbey Lincoln's "Throw It Away," was the perfect way to end the day.

After the show, Ms. Devine posed with fans and autographed photos. She is a classy lady and the show is not to be missed.


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