Mainstream newcomer Jazmine Sullivan opened up the night. Clad in an all black jumper with a hoodie over her head, she went from crouching and jerking mysteriously on the floor to waving around a crowbar for a track entitled "Bust Your Windows" to start.
Hailing from Philadelphia, Jazmine has been singing since age five at church. She's since progressed to a name act at the Apollo, a jam session with Stevie Wonder, performances at the famed Black Lily showcases, and a record deal with Clive Davis' J Records as part of her experience. You may have heard Jazmine this summer on "Need U Bad," the reggae-infused chart-topper featuring Missy Elliott.
Maxwell. Then, oooooohh, Maxwell. The man's charm and energy soaked the walls of the beautiful Paramount in Oakland Wednesday night. An elegant and steamy occasion it was. Members of the 10-piece band were featured on platforms and decked out in suits, with the background singer in a lovely gown.
Maxwell sauntered over to center stage, swishing and swaying. Working his blazer and the mic stand which he carried all over stage and even tossed up in the air, he warmed up the crowd with three straight hits from his most recent album, "Now." Through the course of the show, he seemed to cover material from all three of his albums, including a special introduction of a newer song called "Pretty Wings," dedicating it "to that girl that just won't stay."
With Maxwell sexiness is never absent. Gyrations, spins, dips, and kicks galore, mister man bounced about and flashed his impeccable smile enough times to make anyone melt. Or throw a bra on stage. Yes, that happened- after which Maxwell smelled the black strapless and casually flung it over his shoulder. He playfully asked the crowd, "Why is everyone so dressed up? What's the occasion?" He laughed.
After giving fans nothing short of a full aural experience of sensual awesome-ness (complete with two encores), he thanked everyone profusely for sticking with him throughout the years and for a turnout he never dreamt of. With no current single or album in six years, Maxwell has packed and sold out shows across the US on this tour, which culminates in New York City on Nov. 23. He promised everyone, "We'll back next year."
Maxwell is currently working on his fourth project entitled "Black Summers' Night," which is a trilogy of albums to be released over the next three years: "Black" in 2008, "Summers" in 2009, and "Night" in 2010.