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Bilal made February in Atlanta hot again

Bilal bared his soul in ATL for Valentine's Day
Bilal bared his soul in ATL for Valentine's Day
Shannon McCollum

Valentine's Day with Bilal in ATL


Forget the flowers and candy. Missing Bilal last Monday is ample reason to send your mate to the cold side of the bed. The Philly phenom returned to the A to give a V-Day show at Center Stage for the second year in a row. The fun began at 8 p.m. with two solid opening acts.

First up, Rudy Currence rocked his set behind the ivories with a cover of Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song for You.” Next, Rahbi rolled out as a badass, red-winged cupid. It was all glitzy hearts and flowers until he made our hearts stop by leaping clean off the stage, standing on a front row chair and bouncing back on stage as if he had springs in his shoes. When remaining still, he was joined by his red lace clad partner-in-crime, Madam CJ for a rendition of “Square Biz” in a sassy homage to the late Lady T.

If you were at Bilal's Valentine's Day show last year, you could call the 2011 performance an “airtight revenge.” This time, he was in total control of his lyrics, while still wilding out. It was more than enough to keep your eyes glued to his every move. He fell out on stage, dropped the mic and grabbed it again for a mix of songs from both last fall's, Airtight's Revenge and the 10-year-old classic, 1st Born Second like "Levels," "All Matter," "Restart" and "Soul Sista," all while remaining in sharp vocal form. Watching him sangin’ while supine was a sight to see.

Once the band entered a long instrumental intro to “Sometimes,” widely considered Bilal’s magnum opus, the already vibrant crowd was in a complete frenzy. The song was the pure climax to his unique culmination of the sacrosanct and sexually secular all at once.

And don’t forget the silly. Even in his most soulful moments, he offered glimpses of his characteristic sense of humor.

Backstage, I caught up with him to get a few words after the show. About the performing in Atlanta he said:

“Awesome, man. I love to play here. I always get that good energy. That’s what we look for with the band I play with,” he said about the Atlanta crowd.

On Airtight’s Revenge, he added:

“We had fun. We just really went into the zone and experimented and it paid off. Everybody enjoyed it and understood it.”

Jodine Dorce of Jodine’s Corner served as the evening’s host.

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