Grammy Award winning American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino took her fans to church on Saturday (April 27th), with her blend of rock-soul as she hit the stage at New York’s Beacon Theatre in support of her latest album Side Effects of You.
Shortly after 9pm, after the crowd was warmed up by Harlem comedian Smokey Suarez and a set from the disco/R&B group GQ, Fantasia walked to the mic, radiating a new found strength before she even began to deliver the verses of I’m Doin Me”, commanding the audience to “Get Up, We came to party”. Drawing on the spirit of soul legend Patti Labelle, Fantasia kicked off her shoes within two minutes of being onstage, and continued to lead her fans through a testimony of her relationship ups and downs in song (‘Man of the House’, ‘If I Was A Bird’ and ‘Free Yourself’) through her strong, raw voice, that mixed pain and struggle, with new-found wisdom , that she delivered to the crowd as she introduced the songs and sang the words, while the audience stood on their feet and sang back.
Like a leader Fantasia grasped the audience, commanding when to sit and stand, at moments when she wanted moments of stillness so she could just let the fans take in her words such as on ‘Trust Him’, taking the song nice and slow.
Despite being only twenty eight, Fantasia possesses an old soul of sorts and showed off that spirit through her rendition of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, or when she seemed to have the most fun taking a break from singing to groove to the sounds of eighties hits Nasty Girl” by Vanity 6, “In My House” by the Mary Jane Girls, “The Glamorous Life” by Sheila E, and “The Bird” by Morris Day & The Time, as she cut lose moving her hips and feet to the music. Tasia also paid a bit of homage to a sixties Tina Turner and the Ikettes soulful moves when joined onstage by dancers from Love Jones NYC who paid tribute to her during her New York City album release party, during ‘Get It Right’.
After giving the crowd some rock-soul with ‘Get It Right’, Fantasia took things back to R&B with ‘When I See You’ and ‘Bittersweet’, giving her backup singers some individual spotlight of their own on the latter. Tasia also displayed the mark of a true talented soulstress singing a few notes a capella, in which her power could be felt all the way in the back of the balcony without a mic. “I’m letting go of relationships and all of the negative stuff that people are saying about me, because what God has for me is for me!, Tasia proudly exclaimed, re-iterating a statement that she had declared at her New York album release party.
As the show neared to a close, came a touching performance of ‘Even Angels’, where Fantasia honored one of her angels singing legend Whitney Houston, while giving off a certain vulnerability and softness, before transitioning into her latest album Side Effects of You’s lead single ‘Lose to Win’, which had everyone back on their feet belting out every word. During ‘Win’, Fantasia took a moment to mention the recent passing of her band-member’s father and encouraging and praising their strength to move ahead.
After ‘Lose to Win’, despite the fact that many thought the show was over, those who stayed got a surprise when Fantasia returned to the stage for an encore performance of ‘LightHouse’ from her latest album, flowing like a poet on the song.
Whereas on television Fantasia has to be constrained to a degree, live onstage at her own show she is allowed to be fully free and raw.