Artist: Alicia Keys
Venue: Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Date: April 5
Clad in black tuxedo pants, a sheer blouse and a dark, wide-brimmed hat recalling Diana Ross in “Mahogany,” Alicia Keys immediately put the sold-out Barclays Center crowd on its feet with opening number “Karma” from 2003’s “The Diary of Alicia Keys.” It didn’t take long for the powerhouse vocalist to further win over the audience: “It feels so good to be here in New York City, because that’s where I was born and raised,” she charismatically stated. Backed by a four-piece band and three singers, Keys glided from her piano to the male dancers onstage, acting out the spoken parts of “You Don’t Know My Name.” After heating up the crowd, she turned to the soulful “Tears Always Win” and “Listen to Your Heart,” from last year’s “Girl on Fire,” which earned Keys her fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. Not a performer who relies on numerous costume changes to dazzle fans, Keys’ tremendous voice radiated on “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart.” Other highlights of the evening included a guest appearance by rapper Method Man, who joined the singer for a cover of Mary J. Blige’s “All I Need.” R&B charmer Maxwell also stopped by to lend his smooth vocals on the duet “Fire We Make.” Keys closed the show with the larger-than-life “New York State of Mind,” which featured a video of Jay-Z lending his flow to her version of the hit. Earlier in the night, opener Miguel–who’s scheduled to appear at the Billboard Music Awards in May–turned up the heat early with his funky R&B, eerily channeling Prince with his sensual stage presence. His brief set was highlighted by a rousing performance of hit single “Adorn,” which left fans screaming for more.