The biggest party since the pandemic stormed into the Brisbane Showgrounds with a huge crowd in the thousands. The lineup featured an entourage of RnB all stars including Shaggy, Ashanti, Dru Hill, Jay Sean, Lumidee, Macklemore, TLC, Akon and Jeremih.
Whilst a huge majority of concert goers turned up for headline act Macklemore, every artist delivered their unique engagement with the audience. Hit dropped after hit familiar to every mainstream radio listener. Whether you were a die hard fan or not, the atmosphere was buzzing.
In no particular order we’ve highlighted the hottest performances in our opinion.
Shaggy won the audience over
Arguably, the king of hybrid reggae, Shaggy was the first household name to ignite hype with his powerful stage presence performing radio hits Bombastic, It Wasn’t Me and Angel. Some fans were expecting him to sing more saying “Shaggy had amazing energy, but would start the first chorus then got the crowd to sing most of it which was a let down.“ Nevertheless, Shaggy won over a sea of hearts with evident crowd response throughout the stadium.
Although Shaggy is known for his classic and tongue in cheek sing along hits, nominated with seven Grammy Awards, winning two for Best Reggae Album, he’s been also focusing on making music with a message, addressing personal matters in his life. In 2018 he collaborated with the legendary Sting on an album called 44/786 (named after their respective country codes). Their music wasn’t easily classified and some fans were confused by the duo. Nevertheless it spent seven weeks at No.1 on the Billboard Reggae Chart, and they took pride in the fact that their music was a mash up of genres.
Shaggy recently dropped a new album called “Com Fly Wid Mi,” featuring a Frank Sinatra classic, “Fly Me to the Moon.” It’s an easy listening vibe with a jazz, holiday and reggae influence, perfect for the fast approaching holiday season.
Baltimore group Dru Hill were on set earlier in the evening singing soul, gospel and hip hop anthems with their 7 members. With dozens of top 40 hits including In My Bed, Never Make a Promise and How Deep is Your Love, the group showcased suave choreography with lead singer Sisqo most actively working his famous flips and dance moves. One concert interviewee stated “Dru Hill was the star class act for me, they had that bass added to their songs that made it very festival-like. Production and performance was spot on.”
Prior to Dru Hill, Lumidee kicked off the eve with a short but sweet set. Getting into the groove with her party starter ‘Never Leave You’. Then, the only English representing performer of the festival, singer songwriter and record producer Jay Sean performed his most successful hit “Down” released in 2009. Jay Sean was followed by US artist Jeremih delivering smooth vocals, production and a stage backdrop screen imagery well suited for club banging RnB.
The woman of the night was crowned ‘Ashanti’ who confidently strutted across the stage in a latex yellow neon bodysuit and high ponytail. Possibly too sexy for some, Ashanti looked great and brought positive vibes to the stage. Her set included a number of her hits that the crowd recognised and resonated with.
Akon lifted the night a notch with his undeniable signature auto-tuned vocals. As soon as Smack That, Lonely, I Wanna Love You came on, crowd participation instantly turned into a mass karaoke session. Akon’s energy in his performance was authoritative. This sheer entertainer sure knows how to start a party.
As TLC performed their songs, it was a realisation of how much airtime and influence they’ve had over the sound waves with their songs. When ‘Waterfalls’ dropped, every person in sight seemed to shout along every lyric. The duo still carry their star appeal with Tboz looking super chilled in her choreography, Chilli eased into her slick signature moves over their third late member Lisa Left Eyes rap breaks.
McDonalds sponsored a ‘Maccas Run’ presented by host Fatman scoop, as others enjoyed unlimited complimentary McDonalds iced coffee’s for the entire event.
In general, people seemed to be easy going with a few characters here and there escorted out by security and paramedics. Feedback varied, where some people had the time of their lives, and some say significant improvements could have been made. Overall, it’s a progressive journey to an inspirational movement in Australia, that we would rather have than not. The future for RnB Fridayz Live could be even brighter and better with every year of success.
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