ORLANDO, FL. Usher Raymond IV. The name has been a staple in modern R&B music for 20 years. Usher has always been known for explosive performances, precise dancing moves, and solid vocals on some of modern music’s biggest hits. He needed to tour keep his fans at bay while waiting for his “UR” album which is still in the works after being delayed. But his fans are more than happy to see him in person. So tonight the 27 date UR Xperience Tour hits Orlando, FL.
The location is Orlando’s Amway Center, the ‘House that Dwight Howard Built’. This city has been starving for big time concerts; for years having to travel to Tampa and Miami as the big name acts skipped Orlando due to it’s outdated arena. But now, they come, and here is Usher.
After DJ Destiny performed an R&B and Hip Hop set, followed by a beautiful but vulgar set by August Ansina, the stage was set for Usher. Performed on a huge, multimedia stage with various sections of the stage rising and dropping under the stage, and a huge backing video screen, Usher delivered an explosive performance that also converted into a surprisingly intimate setting at times.
Usher, with a 15 piece backing band, including a DJ and 4 piece brass section, delivered a set that takes you through many of his hits, using the huge backing screen to give creative looks to the show, including making the screen look vintage with a 60’s screen look wavy lines and slight fuzzy ness. Usher looked happy to perform the show, as he concentrated more on delivering solid vocals and was more subtle with his ‘on the mike’ dance moves. He let his dancers the heavy duty, while joining them for sections of songs. He did however do an impressive solo freestyle for the hit “OMG” wile dancing under two lowered massive lighting rigs that bathed him in a red and blue glow.
Usher performed many songs with twists in style, such as giving “My Way” a harder, more hype punch as his opening sing, but taking a jazzy feel with songs such as “Love in This Club” and “You Make Me Wanna.” Usher took his band through a James Brown-type funk set with “Twisted”, and “She Came To Give It To You”. At one point in the show, the set was broken down to just an acoustic guitar, keyboard, DJ, and background singers, giving it a more intimate effect, as Usher sang through some of his more notable ballads.
Jermaine Dupree took to the stage to test the ‘OG Usher Fans’ (fans of more than 20 years) to see what songs they knew as the band ran through hit after hit from Usher such as “Confessions”, “Hey Daddy”, and “My Boo”, as both Usher and JD declared “We could do this all day”. After 5 platinum plus albums and 15 hits on the Billboard hot 100, it’s no surprise.
After a typical ‘chase the girl’ performance of “Bad Girl” and a shirtless and more sexual performance of “Good Kisser”, which converted into a Jamaican style dance segment, Usher brought the party home with “U Don’t Have To Call” and turned the party electro with “DJ Got Us Fallin In Love”, “Yeah!”, and a “Without You” encore.
Usher gave Orlando a taste of where he’s been and where he’s going with the UR Xperience. A solid show that may have had its issues in previous cities, but was a solid experience in Orlando.
By Chris Cuff