Think about this, you’re driving home on a Friday after work. Its RnB night on the radio and your ears are graced with the sounds of Jason Derulo, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas and more. Now imagine it live – and you’ve got Brisbane Showground last Friday. For the fourth year in a row Illusive Presents, Frontier Touring and HIT Network brought the nation’s colossal concert series, the aptly named ‘RNB Fridays Live,’ and Blank GC was lucky enough to catch it all.
As we entered golden hour, entrants of all generations flooded Brisbane Showgrounds – from die-hard Janet Jackson followers to lovers of noughties tunes – everyone can get around RnB. Hosting the evening was the very loud, very energetic Fatman Scoop, and by his side the bubbly radio host Ash London.
Starting us off we got a bit ‘Tipsy’ with American Rapper JKwon before going all-in with mystery act Brandy. Despite Brandy’s powerful voice and hit songs she was unexpectedly adorable, between the silence of transitions stating, “Sorry for being a quiet, I’m just bit shy” with dimples from ear to ear. Taking a 180, we had the uber-confident Jason Derulo, showing us not only can he sing but he can dance. Derulo left nothing out of his one hour set, jam-packing all his hits in – from his recent album, ‘2 Sides’ to his 2000’s single, ‘Whatcha Say.’
The countdown was on for 50 Cent, who opened his show with a multitude of clips highlighting his successes in the past – from acting to songwriting to producing – showing 50 is not one to be underestimated. With inflatable champagne bottles on this right and attractive dancers in electric yellow in his left – 50 played it all in his sixty minutes and even took us to the ‘Candy Shop’.
But the question on everyone’s mind all night was what would the Black Eyed Peas do without Fergie? Would they not play any of their old hits? Would they play her voice over a speaker? Then out came the stunning Jessica Reynoso, better known as J Reysoul. It’s a tough gig but she performed, hitting all the notes of her predecessor, the BEP family welcomed her. Opening the night, of course, with ‘Let’s Get it Started’ the crowd was moving. Playing all the best from 2009 album ‘The E.N.D’, Will.i.am had to stop to say when he was driving to the gig he thought, “Damn Brisbane. Tonight’s gonna be a good night” before swiftly transitioning into ‘I Gotta Feeling’. But nothing compared to the energy felt for BEP’s response to the 9/11 attacks, ‘Where is the Love’. Member, Taboo, waved the Aboriginal Flag as phone lights twinkled around the grounds, it was a beautiful moment shared by all.
I was a sceptical millennial of Janet Jackson being the headliner, but as the lights came back on to reveal Jackson decked in all-black glitter jumpsuit atop the DJ decks, any doubt in my mind had been long forgotten. While I can’t speak much of the songs she played, I can tell you this much – Derulo has nothing on her moves. As Brisbane Showgrounds rained down confetti, we can’t wait to do it all again next year (or at least hear it on the radio.)
Images (C) Santography by Danny Santangelo