Rockhal welcomed one of the biggest pop-oriented, hip hop stars on the globe to Luxembourg for the first time on Sunday night.
Having released his first album back in 2005, it’s easy to forget that Chris Brown is only 27. His latest album “Royalty”, released at the back end of last year has become one of his most commercially successful in recent years and with no time to waste he announced the track listing of his eighth studio album “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” to be released in the coming months.
However, with all the top 10 hits, we sometimes forget he’s a musician as he manages to find himself in the gossip magazines as much as the music ones, with his less than desirable past. Putting all his personal issues aside, he is still a Grammy award winning, multi platinum selling artist with legions of fans across the globe.
Even though this was his first show in Luxembourg, his fans were left to wait that bit longer. 20 minutes after his stage time had come and gone and still waiting for the final support act August Alsina, we were told Alsina’s slot was cancelled and Brown would be on stage in 10 minutes. A further 20 minutes later the lights dimmed and the tense waiting turned into excited screams.
Brown took to the stage as any self-respecting pop star should, from a contraption rising from beneath the stage. As the screams hit fever pitch he kicked into “Fine by Me”, flanked by dancers he instantly made use of the huge v-shaped ego stage that sprawled out into the crowd.
With no live band it was left to Brown it sing over backing tracks, although it seemed he was more concentrated on his dancing and the odd hip thrust to get the young girls screaming than much else.
Over the years Brown has been marketed as a bad boy hip hop artist but seeing him live reaffirmed his pop credentials, with his choreographed dance moves and changes of clothing every other song, he still has his roots firmly in the pop world where he launched his career over a decade ago.
The Michael Jackson comparisons are a flattering one but you can understand why, especially with several nods to the King of Pop, particularly on the “Human Nature” sampled “She Ain’t You”.
After a couple of songs Brown acknowledged his tardiness and apologised saying he wanted to make sure everything was right for his fans before making it to the stage but by this point none of his fans seemed to care, they seemed to be caught up in the club fillers with the driving bass of “Love More” taking it up a notch.
After a couple of slower tracks from “Take Me Down” to “Don’t Judge Me” he was back to his dance routines once more, taking the second half of the night into the party zone, with pyrotechnics on “Paradise” accompanied by some more EDM hooks. The slowed down synth hook of Robin S’ house classic “Show Me Love” from the early 90s gave Brown’s “Show Me” the desired effect but reminded you how much you’d rather being hearing the original.
Brown was to finish up on the floor fillers, “Ayo” & “Loyal”, which had plenty in the crowd dancing away into the late Sunday evening as flames rose up from the stage and sparks fell from above, it was an impressive spectacle to finish on.
Seeing as this is a full European tour, I expected Brown to have been backed by a live band, or at least someone working the decks to give it more of a live experience, instead we just had Brown running around dancing and singing over backing tracks, it wasn’t the kind of performance that wins you new fans.
12.06.16 – Rockhal