Real love songs are not a thing of the past. Raheem DeVaughn stood flat footed (In a rather fresh-to-def pair of 5 V retro Laney J's) on The Howard Theatre stage and proved it. This past Monday was The First Annual Raheem DeVaughn & Friends Xmas Show and it was anything but disappointing. This contemporary contada of sorts had something for everyone to enjoy. From the opening act, the hilarious Funnyman Skiba, to Raheem and his very talented friends there wasn't a dull moment all night.
There was seemingly no hit unsung by Raheem as he covered his classics like Guess Who Loves You More, You, Believe, etc. as well has his newer hits from his recent album A Place Called Love Land like Pink Crush Velvet, Maker of Love (Ft Boney James), and even Love Connection. The thing that undoubtedly sets Raheem apart from his industry peers is the sincerity in his artistry as it relates to his live performances. It’s one thing to get up on stage and perfectly execute notes, riffs, and runs and then be done with a song; It is an entirely different thing to do what Raheem and very few others still do which is convey passion and conviction vocally in such a way as to make the listener feel like the subject of the lyrics. It also definitely helps to be a writer and producer of said songs which Raheem is however even in doing covers to other artists’ (Who will remain nameless/go catch a Raheem DeVaughn show and hear for yourself) songs he somehow puts a new and arguably better perspective to them.
As aforementioned this was the Raheem DeVaughn & Friends Xmas Show and his friends showed up and showed out. First up was the darling Estelle who strutted out on stage, long wavy brown tresses bouncing about as she and the crowd jammed to her hits, American Boy & Thank You. Next Up was season 2 winner of BET’s Sunday Best Y’anna Crawley who had no problem taking the audience to church with her fiery, soulful performances of The Promise & I Believe. Just when it seemingly could not get any better, Raheem announces that Larry “Jazz” Anthony of Dru Hill is in the building, and he nearly brought the house down with his powerful vocals and crowd stirring dance moves to Dru Hill’s hit song, Tell Me. The party did not stop there though; in fact it unbelievably got more hyped. The Biz Markie came out on stage and woke up the neighbors with Just A Friend with Raheem who hopped down from the stage and got down with the crowd up close and personally. By now everyone was up on their feet caught up in the rhythmic reminisce of gym jams and basement parties past. The collective ‘Balled fist to mouth/”Oh snap!” combo’ came when the party turned go-go as the legendary Sugar Bear of EU took the stage and cranked out Da Butt like it was 1988 all over again. The go-go continued when Anwan "Big G" Glover and other members of Backyard Band appeared revving the crowd even more with Pretty Girls and a string of their other hits that capped the evening off perfectly in true Raheem DeVaughn fashion.
Attending a Raheem DeVaughn concert is like watching child at recess enjoying his favorite activity. He takes it very seriously, but has fun with it as well, and he makes sure everyone else involved is also having a good time. For more information on Raheem DeVaughn visit raheemdevaughn.com