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Thursday, 23 June 2011



G was great, after all the wait.

15 years deep into the game, grown-up and old-school, R&B leading man Ginuwine returns to London, England, by the way of the intimate 'indigo' venue inside the 02 to play-out and perform numbers from his classic catalogue. 'AMPs & 808s' where on hand to see an all-round, all-time great guy who has also lent a hand to the buzz of this site via Twitter (thank you). Ginuwine had some serious support from, May7ven, Junbug, Dotstar, Grhymey, Scandal and New Jack in this relentless R&B show in festival season.

Before G, J. Holiday took to the stage to co-headline and he really got the crowd more then warmed up. Wrapping up and singing his way through his favourite hits, he was note perfect with some incredible, inspired singing. His charisma was on point to, whether hammering with his entourage or hitting on the crowd. Holiday looked at a perfect, comfortable ease, his excellence making his work look like a vacation. As J departed the stage he left the crowd begging for was about to come.

If people thought that J. Holiday got the fans screaming like 'The Jackson's' where back together then they hadn't seen, or heard anything yet. As Ginuwine was ready to take the stage, ecstatic women (and even some men) rushed the stage like they where ready to fight (you could almost see the nails getting pulled off), screaming with a shattering tone (it's a good job the wine was served in plastic cups). With a genuinely brilliant group of backing singers, dressed in burnt-orange, off red jackets and white, this looked like something between Guy and 'Heavy D & The Boyz', as they told us they "see nothing wrong with a little Ginuwine" to R. Kelly's 'Bump N' Grind'. Then G came bouncing out to 'Same Ol' G', teasing with his back turned, greeting each member of his group he really took us back to classic times proving he hasn't changed. As he finally turned around to welcome the crowd, face-to-face, you knew it was on.

From the outset his energy, charm, charisma, cool and effortless, excellent vocal-ability was turned up to the highest notch. Even though he played for under an hour and missed some requests it didn't matter because he gave us all in a sweet, short set. He more then made up for it with his incredible, perfect performances with added love for the live show. 'The Senior' rolled through 'Stingy' and 'Hell Yeah' before finding room 'In Those Jeans' and the old-favourites like 'None Of Your Friends Business' and 'Differences', showing that he can move through his young and today's more mature sound as seamlessly over time on stage as his albums have done over the years in the studio.

Elgin Baylor held his court and this stage like a pro really bringing the intimate vibe out of the 'indigo'. It felt more like a club show, then atypical concert and that worked just right. Giving 100% Elgin performed one off his new, literally self-titled album(a quick sip of the cool 'Drink Of Choice') despite some briefly mentioned label difficulty. He even played his classic collabo with Nas ('You Owe Me') while getting changed into a crisp, all-white number. He also paid tribute to the Jodeci song 'Let's Go Through the Motions'. A song he came up with via video, it's refreshing Ginuwine recognises his roots. With three-men behind him G showed what could have been if he was part of that group or the TGT one he's formed with the terrific Tank and Tyrese. Then on came the glittered Nike 'Air Force's as Ginuwine paid tribute to the king of pop, dance, R&B and all-music, Michael Jackson, dancing through his hits. Ginuwine proved he's still got it, cutting a rug (and a towel) while paying tribute to "one of the three reasons" he's where he is today (God and the fans being the other two). This dance lord really was qualified to speak and move on this tribute, being the first R&B solo singer after M.J. to bring the dancing and singing to the mainstream. Way before Chris Brown, Ne-Yo and even Usher.

Then the beat changed to an infamous, legendary production from former 'superfriend' and partner Timbaland as 'The Bachelor' broke down into his classic, huge-hit 'Pony' to finish up. Riding on the crest of the wave of the fans and his own maintaining energy G acted as excited as his fans to hear their reaction to his classic, dancing away and jumping in the crowd. That's when the sea of Blackberry's and iphones (held so far up in the sky like they where trying to find a signal to tell jealous friends how good this was) really bum-rushed the stage. I'm sad to say one pair of steam -rolled aviators didn't make it. It's a good job the security didn't end up like the bouncers in the Ludacris video, 'Move B****'.

After 'Pony' the G-man galloped off stage only to be followed by fans looking for a photo, proclaiming "Where's this Ginuwine" like the English man sample off the Bachelor's debut. Even though Mr. Baylor was done for the night he really proved tonight he was legendary like his Laker namesake. Like a fine wine, age 'aint slowing this G down. From his engaging energy to his acclaimed appreciation for the fans and their love, this genuine talent proved that the real thing, really is the best thing. This night it was all a 'G-thang'. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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