You can’t rush genius. So, when Erykah Badu still hadn’t made an appearance nearly an hour later than expected on July 20, the packed room at Brooklyn Bowl didn’t seem remotely restless. Draped in layer upon layer of clothing, her head topped with the kind of hat she’s made famous, Badu waltzed onto the stage ready to shed it all.
What first must be mentioned is that a live show with Badu cannot simply be described—the energy that she channels into the space must be felt to be truly understood. Every aspect of the production is meticulously, yet still somehow effortlessly, executed. From the visuals to her vocal manipulations to the aura that surrounds her, it is a sensory explosion. A ceiling screen read BADU while a reimagined spotlight surrounded her and a trippy and color-coordinated video provided backdrop. But no matter how much there is to look at, it all comes back to her voice. Badu’s unbelievable range and relentless power didn’t waver even once during her set, which lasted more than two-hours.
By the time her lengthy and moving show ended, she has stripped down to a plain white tee, a chest full of gold chains and her long thick braid trailing down her back. But she didn’t only shed her clothes last night: her honest set left her soul unguarded for everyone to experience. ★★★★✩
Erik Kabik Photography/MediaPunch