Please pinch me...did that just really happen? GRAMMY nominated vocalist and songwriter Nadia Ali, graced the stage at Palladium at the Castle in Chicago, Friday night, amongst a packed house of adoring fans and gave a magical performance. The venerable creative talent with that unmistakable once-in-a-generation voice, mesmerized concert-goers for nearly 60 non-stop-minutes leading all in attendance on an eargasmic adventure of epic proportions; complete with Olympic gold medal winning vocal calisthenics and pleasing eye-popping visuals. Such aural excitement left fans in pure ecstasy and completely spent by the end of the night. Ali was so addictive, you kept wanting more...never wanting the night to end.
The superstar vocalist's electronic dance music set covered quite a bit of ground, including her latest releases, 'Must Be The Love' (Arty, BT & Nadia Ali) and 'Carry Me' (Morgan Page & Nadia Ali) and even included a cover of 'Roxanne' from Sting/The Police. From 'Is It Love', 'Crash & Burn', 'Love Story', 'Call My Name', and 'Feels So Good' to 'Rapture', 'Fantasy', and 'Pressure', Ali's entire set was the highlight and it was plain to see each and every song was a fan favorite and received great response.
However it can be described, Ali connected with her fans on a most personal level; witnessed by all of the love, adulation, and respect directed toward her. From the constant audience participation of singing every word on every song to her offering up of a few personal tidbits when she mentioned aloud, "Guys, this is my first show since my wedding last week (to raucous applause and cheers) what a welcome, thank you so very much." And then, "Chicago, I'm gonna take my heels off because this is painful. Yes, everybody knows now...I'm not tall" she confessed to her fans while laughing.
Known as the Queen Of Clubs, you could instantly tell from the impressive give and take, back and forth, to and fro of effortless playfulness with the audience...she was in total command and control. The energy emanating from Ali and her performance was palpable. And, there really was nothing like the sight of the cramming together of bodies on the dance floor, squished collectively as one, moving in sync from the moment there was a hint that Ali would make her presence felt taking the stage to the moment she would say, "I love you guys...thank you!" and depart the stage; unless you were actually lucky enough to be a part of that singular sweaty mass.
The night was not without its problems however. Noticeable issues with the sound, included quite a few instances of annoying feedback from Ali's microphone. It was a shame that an artist of Ali's world renowned stature, acclaim, and historical significance should ever encounter technical difficulties. Always the consummate professional...she persevered and conquered. Yet, somehow, it really did not matter to all in attendance because for one night their beloved Nadia Ali was in the house!
The Palladium at the Castle was really the perfect place to enjoy Ali's performance. Formerly the Excalibur & Vision nightclub, the venue was remodeled and reopened as the Castle on March 1st of this year. The Castle is a multi-venue entertainment complex with four unique environments in one iconic building. And, the Palladium at the Castle, is a multi-balconied room that had so many cool sight lines, no matter where you were you always felt Ali was singing directly to you. And, how cool was that...to see an iconic performer in an iconic venue.
In as much as the entire Nadia Ali live experience at Palladium at the Castle was special, I found one particular moment that stuck out for me, like a phalanx of trumpeters announcing the arrival of royalty, the Queen Of Clubs. Suddenly the music stopped, an instant buzz was felt, a great sense of anxious anticipation set in and a pre-recorded message by noted DJ Armin Van Buuren was played, "this is Armin Van Buuren, and you are about to watch one of the most talented female vocalists on the planet, my good friend from New York...Nadia Ali." Intro music was heard and then a voice, "Chicago...WOW!" yelled Ali into her microphone to a most deafening roar of appreciation and approval from awaiting fans. And so began the event that led up to my pinch me moment.
EDM, electronic dance music, is all about the beat, that danceable beat that leads you to move your feet. And, Nadia Ali has definitely provided some of EDM's most memorable songs. But maybe, Ali has also captured that remarkable feeling during her acapella end-of-the-show rendition of 'Rapture', and has allowed individuals to dance to the beat of their own heart. And maybe, even much more important, to feel a combined beat of all of the hearts surrounding them including Ali's, and move together as one.
Is It Love
Who Is Watching
Crash & Burn
Feels So Good
Something to Lose
At The End
Ride With Me
When It Rains
Keep It Coming
Call My Name
Must Be The Love