Special thanks to the 9:30 Club for providing me with a free VIP experience.
Starting in 1995, Raphael Saadiq began his solo career after being in the group Tony!Toni!Toné! since 1988. The group maintained 4 successful albums while Saadiq was a member, and toured with various accomplished artists at that time.
Since then, Saadiq has released his own projects while simultaneously producing and song writing for other artists. Some of his popular works include Untitled (How Does it Feel) by D’Angelo, Dance Tonight by Lucy Pearl (including Saadiq), and Love of My Life (An Ode To Hip-Hop) by Common featuring Erykah Badu.
My VIP Experience was a quite interesting time. VIP ticket holders were granted the opportunity to attend an intimate soundcheck with Raphael Saadiq and meet him afterwards. Additionally, we received a signed poster, lanyard and ticker memorabilia. There was about 11 people total and 2 couples since this could be considered a Valentine’s Day gift for some. Before entering the soundcheck, employees at the 9:30 Club placed our phones in Yondr cases. This is because there was no filming or photography allowed during the soundcheck. Once the doors open, Saadiq and his band were already rehearsing a guitar solo/jam session that Saadiq was set to perform during the show. This session lasted about 10 minutes before Saadiq exited off the stage and came to meet the group of ticket holders.
His presence was very open and welcoming, though there wasn’t much time, he made sure to say hello to everyone individually once he approached us. After the short conversation was held, Saadiq joined us for a group picture that was taken on one of the tour employees phones. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting to receive that image but I’ll insert it once I’ve received it.
The show didn’t start for another two hours so I left and came back since I had early entrance. Once I arrived, the venue slowly started to fill. The 9:30 Club is a standing room only venue with special seating on the second level. Since it was a majority older audience, the second level filled up before the standing room only section filled, nevertheless, the show sold out.
Shortly after the opening sets, Saadiq emerged onto the stage and began the night performing I’m Feeling Love from his new album Jimmy Lee and followed up with Skyy, can you feel me. A few songs in, Saadiq took the audience for a spin.
Saadiq began to perform the song Still Ray, a song that a lot of people in the audience were anticipating on hearing. About thirty seconds in, Saadiq stopped the song, and bought out the Backyard Band, a popular D.C. go-go band. They performed Still Ray as a debut and it was absolutely amazing.
Throughout the remainder of the show, Saadiq performed hits like Ask of You and Something Keeps Calling Me. He then went to perform songs from Tony!Toni!Toné! like It Never Rains, Lets Get Down, Me & You, Feels Good, and Anniversary.
Overall the Jimmy Lee Tour was one to remember, and left me speechless in the end. I will be attending the next Raphael Saadiq concert based solely off of the energy and experience!
What’s your favorite Raphael Saadiq project and/or song? Comment below!