TLC headlining uptown at the Beacon and Band of Horses reigning downtown at the McKittrick were among the highlights Thursday (Jan. 30) as the blitz of musical Super Bowl XLVIII celebrations taking over the New York City area in the week before the game roll on.
Up on West 74th and Broadway at the Beacon Theatre, TLC strutted on stage to one of their first hits, “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” for VH1’s fourth Super Bowl Blitz live performance. T-Boz and Chilli, donning orange jumpsuits, were backed by a handful of dancers sporting coordinated streetcar. TLC kept nostalgic concertgoers energized as they ran through their catalogue of hits, covering all their four studio albums. The ladies didn’t miss a step of their choreography through out their one-hour set, only stopping when VH1 did announcements and trivia.
Before closing the show with latest single, “Meant to Be,” off their compilation album, “20,” TLC had all in attendance on their feet and singing every word of “Waterfalls.” The ladies paid tribute to their fallen group member, Left Eye, with a number by ballet dancer Misty Copeland. Copeland took the stage in her ballet attire, and danced gracefully while Left Eye’s verse played.
Meanwhile, downtown on Manattan’s western fringe, Band of Horses packed rock fans into the extremely intimate performance space at the McKittrick Hotel for a harmonious, loose 13-song acoustic set. “Y’all pumped up for the Super Bowl or whatever?” frontman Ben Bridwell said with a wink, acknowledging the football fever overtaking the metropolitan area ahead of the big game on Sunday between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
— Billboard (@billboard) January 31, 2014
But the point of the evening, which was part of Citi’s Evenings With Legends series during Super Bowl week, wasn’t football talk, it was the immediacy of warm, americana-suffused BOH tunes like “Older” and “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” served up with acoustic guitar, stand up bass, tambourine, and in places, honey-tinged a cappella.
“This is cool because we’ve got a tour starting and we’ve gotta work on most of these songs,” Bridwell shared at one point, letting all in on the fact that the McKittrick show was effectively a preview of BOH’s upcoming acoustic tour of North American theaters that kicks off on Feb. 11 in L.A. “So this is soundcheck and we’re messing around.”
The audience crammed in front of the tiny stage, littered with green picks and even a Phantom of the Opera-like mask from “Sleep No More” (the mysterious, interactive theater experience that the McKittrick is known for), swayed along for most of the easy-going, hour-long performance (which included a cover of A.A. Bondy’s “The Mercy Wheel”). But the foot-stomping sing-alongs carried the group through BOH favorites like “Is There A Ghost” and “No One’s Gonna Love You” to the end of the set. No encore meant everyone was left wanting more.
TLC’s upper west side jam and Band of Horses’ downtown gig, of course, were just two of the music events going on in Manhattan to celebrate the coming Super Bowl, which will feature Bruno Mars performing at halftime. Over at Pier 88, Run-D.M.C., the Roots and Busta Rhymes took over the bespoke “Bud Hight Hotel” for the Bud Light / EA Sports Hip-Hop NYC Party. Not far from BOH’s venue, Kings of Leon rocked Fox Sports 1’s Thursday Night Super Bash at the Time Warner Cable Studios in the meatpacking district.
The Super Bowl related concerts around the NYC area continue tonight with John Legend, Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony taking over Cipriani in midtown, Kendrick Lamar and Robin Thicke performing at ESPN’s party on Pier 36, the Goo Goo Dolls giving Staten Island some love at VH1’s event, Maroon 5 headlining the Beacon, Patti Labelle and Mary Mary bringing gospel to the Theater at Madison Sq. Garden.