It’s no secret that I’ve been a long-time Jody Watley fan. But sadly I had yet to attend one of her concerts. So when I found out that she was coming to The Howard Theatre in DC on July 19, 2013, I knew I had to move quickly to get tickets. I’m so pleased that I did. It was an experience, a Friday Night Experience, that I will never forget. The show was also special in that it was Watley’s first in DC in 25 years and it was the last show as part of her summer tour.
While I’d never seen Jody Watley live before, I expected a high-energy show. And that it was—a 90-minute extravaganza with superb vocals, top-notch musicianship, ever-stylish garb, and tight, bodacious choreography. The show was a FAB chronicle of Watley’s career—where’s she been and where she’s going. Watley opened the show with the funky disco soul jam “Nightlife” and “The Dawn,” new songs from her forthcoming 10th studio album Paradise. The response from the audience was overwhelming. Watley turned the Howard Theatre out with just the first two songs, and she was just getting started.
Watley kept the momentum going by taking us back to her days as a member of the legendary group Shalamar, with a spirited medley of hits featuring “Second Time Around,” “A Night To Remember,” and “Take That To The Bank.” Watley effortlessly commanded the stage and continued to shut it down with spot-on performances of her enduring hits like “Friends,” “Some Kind of Lover,” “I Want You,” “Your Love Keeps Working On Me,” “Don’t You Want Me,” Still A Thrill,” and “Looking For A New Love.”
One of the most affecting moments of the show was the ballad section. Though the tempo slowed down slightly, the energy and emotion remained quite strong. Watley kicked off this section of the show with a beautiful, stirring performance of “Everything.” Soulful, jazzy, stripped down, reflective reinterpretations of “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “Most Of All” followed. Watley’s ability to reinvent and find new meaning in her music showcased the artistry, growth, and maturity that has sustained her nearly 40 year career.
After almost 40 years in this business…6 of them in Shalamar – I remain with all my success a virtual underdog. I appreciate those who really get it. My name may not grace the headlines or be a gossip and celebrity blog staple, however I continue to do ‘the work’ as a viable quality artist; while enjoying my journey with all of it’s twists, turns, highs, lows – hits, misses and triumphs. That’s life baby. ~ Jody Watley, 2013
From Disco, Pop, Funk, Hip-Hop, to R&B/Soul, what would a Jody Watley show be without Dance, House, and Electronic music? After all, Watley’s been one of the EDM genre’s innovators for many years. Her performances of “I’m The One You Need” and “Saturday Night Experience” were more than evident of this. Never a substitute, always authentic. Only the real thing. Watley closed out the show with one of her biggest hits “Real Love,” leaving us all wanting more.
Watley’s artistry, style, consistency, and forward-thinking continues to blaze trails. Without a doubt, she’s still got it. And we wait anxiously to see just what she’ll do next. Whatever it is, we know it will be FAB!
Listen to a preview of Jody Watley’s new single “Nightlife” from her forthcoming album Paradise below.