Joe and Chico Debarge
B.B. King Blues Club
June 15th, 2009
by Ann Marie Collymore
Pandemonium would be the word to describe the fervor in B. B. King's last night. It was only fitting that we were treated to a double bill with Chico Debarge opening as a guest for his brethren, Joe. The release of Chico Debarge's first album in six years, Addiction, has been a hot topic on the Internet and on iTunes, with his single "Oh No," while Joe's new album, Signature, is making waves with his new single "Magic." Both Joe's and Chico Debarge's albums will be released on July 14th. Joe and Chico brought their own very different sets of energy to their segments. One was sensual, smooth and soulful, and the other debonair, gritty and sweaty. It was a night that decimated the decibel meter to smithereens.
Chico's ad-libs cooed from backstage while the band's first cord was played. As he took the stage and sat behind his keyboard, he seemed relaxed and calm. Ready to take on a restless crowd that had waited for 45 minutes, Chico sang the very rich "Nefertiti" and "I'm Ok" from his soon to be released album. However, his jazzy and groovy rendition of "Love Still Good" had everyone on their toes as he took it back to the classic Long Time No See. "Virgin" became an upbeat rhythmic melody with a stellar instrumental break. He didn't miss a beat. Chico also explained that the title of the album was derived from where he had been - a very dark place over on the other side. However, it is a place where he came from and was quite pleased to be here today and reap the benefits. After segueing into a new track about a woman who was just "So Sick," the first cords of "Iggin Me" were played and Chico let loose. It was as though all of his energy for the soiree was pent up for this one song. Everyone in the venue felt it and sucked up his energy like a sponge. Chico had the women screaming from the top of their lungs with one of his straightforward questions of the night - "Does your man love you with a love jones?" He then stepped away from the keyboard to partake in the funkiest track of the evening, "I Forgot Your Name." Sung to a slowed-down melody of Luther's "Never Too Much," it definitely was a fitting jam to end his set. Only problem is, the set was just too short. Especially after having the patrons wait for the elongated period of 45 minutes before the show. A little more Chico, would have been just right.
Joe's entrance alone was something to talk about. With DJ Kool Kid on the one's and two's and the band - it was surely a full set. To the tune of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and dressed as suave as a Brat Pack member, Joe stepped onto the stage with drink in hand. The shrills were at high pitch and it continued from there on in. Every pelvic thrust, every sexual innuendo, every piece of clothing shed - was a problem. Joe waltzed through his set effortlessly. He was relentless with every song, diving into his repertoire one by one - "Why Just Be Friends," "If I Was Your Man" and "Baby Where You At." And then he switched into party mode, cranking it up with "Stutter" and "Ride With U." Joe's stage presence and voice carried along the show without a hitch. His quiet-storm set turned the venue into a call and response episode, with rousing renditions of "More And More," "I Wanna Know" (which the crowd sung word for word) and "All The Things Your Man Won't Do." Unbeknownst to us, Joe has some serious acoustic guitar playing abilities and strummed his way through "All That I Am" and "No One Else Comes Close." Chico returned onstage for an unrehearsed duet of the fan favorite "No Guarantee" and Joe finished his set with a dedication to Big Pun on "Don't Wanna Be A Player" - or so we thought. In all of the excitement, Joe forgot to plug his new single "Magic" and ended with a little taste. Everyone was quite full from the festivities, however the last track was just the right serving to end the night.
From slow and mid tempo, to needing a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, would be the only way this show could be described. Besides the screaming of insurmountable proportions, it was a night of great music that had a whole slew of New York City women basking in the glow of the day after, on Tuesday morning.
Upcoming Tour Dates for JOE and Chico DeBarge include:
June 19th: HOB, Orlando, FL:
June 20th: HOB, Myrtle Beach, SC
June 24th: HOB, Cleveland, OH
June 25th: HOB Chicago, IL
July 1st: Houston, TX
July 2nd: New Orleans, LA
July 3rd: Dallas, TX
July 10th: HOB, West Hollywood, CA
July 11th: HOB, Las Vegas, CA
July 12th: Fillmore, San Franciso, CA
July 14th: Album release- promo in NYC
July 16th: Brooklyn, NY
July 17th: Keswick Theatre, Philadelphia, PA
July 18th: Carter Baron Amphitheatre, Washington, DC