Erykah Badu – KoolHaus, Toronto – March 5, 2013
Review and Photos by Anton Koltykov
On March 5th, in celebration of Erykah Badu’s birthday and 16th anniversary of her debut album Baduizm, KoolHaus was filled with 1500+ concert goers waiting for the Neo–Soul Queen’s appearance.
The night began with DJA1 warming up the crowd and a smooth sound check that eventually grew into “Penitentiary Philosophy”. Around 9:30, Erykah took the stage to much applause and joined the band. Badu’s decision to open with a track from Mama’s Gun rather than Baduizm both surprised and excited the audience. Proclaiming herself a “warrior princess from the other sun” Badu then took everyone on a smooth and groovy ride with a track called “Didn’t Cha Know”, produced by J Dilla.
With fans singing along, Badu revealed her Harriet Tubman t-shirt and proceeded with “My Life”. Taking a brief pause, she poured herself some tea and after a few sips she shared: “I gotta do this shit right”. Throughout the set, Erykah proved that she and her voice do more than just right.
The slower and gentler songs instantly mesmerized the audience, and during “Orange Moon” everyone in the venue was completely absorbed by the performance. The vibe in the air that night was affirmed when Erykah exclaimed, “Jah no dead” during “In Love With You”, a track featuring Stephen Marley. Famous Soul Mann riff performed by R.C. Williams on the keys opened “Bag Lady” and the crowd exploded with excitement. Badu then requested the male component of the audience to sign along: “All my tenors” she said.
The climax of the night occurred when The Queen overwhelmed everyone with “Green Eyes”, a song with a Billie Holiday influence was one of the many tracks that Erykah experienced so intensely on stage that night. Her astonishing voice rocked KoolHaus steadily, and when Badu decided to take a break, DJ/producer Rashad “Ringo” Smith blasted the crowd away with Busta Rhymes’ “Woo Hah! Got You All In Check”, Biggie’s “One More Chance”, and LL Cool J’s “Doin’ It”.
As the audience got wound up Badu asked: “Toronto, why are y’all so fucking cool?” and then carried on with “Other Side of The Game”; the breathtaking beat kept the crowd shaking as the performance neared its end. For her encore, Badu performed “Bump It” and “Danger”, bringing pleasure to Toronto fans one more time. As the diva left the stage, her magic remained in the hearts of fans as a picture painted so vividly of wisdom and charm that it lasted long after the show had ended.
1) “Penitentiary Philosophy”
2) “Didn’t Cha Know”
3) “My Life”
4) “On & On”
6) “Hey Sugah”
8) “Kiss Me”
9) “A.D. 2000
10) “Orange Moon”
11) “In Love With You”
12) “Bag Lady”
13) “Time’s a Wastin”
14) “Green Eyes”
15) “Other Side Of the Game”
16) “Bump It”