Live Shots: Erykah Badu with Dave Chapelle and Goapele, Fox Theater, 02/19/2010


It's 1998 and I'm on a trans-Pacific flight to Japan with my mom to visit my "Japanese grandma" Kiyo. I've just received my first mix tape from my super-cool older "sister" Leenie, with cuts on it that range from the Runaway Bride soundtrack to Sash!'s Encore Une Fois. And then there's one of the last tracks, "On and On" by Erykah Badu. I blast this tape on my walkman for almost the whole 17-hour flight and play it throughout the trip, from bullet train rides through lush fields of tea plants to visually overstimulating jaunts in the neon-saturated neighborhood of Shinjuku in Tokyo.

So when Erykah Badu performed on Friday night at the Fox Theater, to a sold-out audience, nostalgia was running through me at full force -- and probably not just for me, but also for a few others in the audience. Dressed in an excessive amount of layers, Badu took the stage with poise and energy, after a surprise introduction by Dave Chapelle. With her fifth album coming out in March, titled New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh), Badu had a confidence on stage that can only come after years of performing in front of adoring audiences. She also seemed to be having a lot fun with her music, introducing the eerie sound of the theremin into her pieces.

Goapele, hailing from Oakland, opened for Badu and got the evening started with some cool R&B tunes, including songs from her new album Milk and Honey, which comes out this spring. Goapele not only had a blast on stage, but her outfit was beyond sexy and her hat was an art piece unto itself.

Badu sang On and On at Friday's concert and there I was, totally 14 again, running around Japan. So now I must ask: Where does Badu take you?