Dubbed “the hottest party of the year” RnB Fridays Live sure lived up to its name with a colossal line up of RnB royalty delivering over six hours of non-stop hits. Adelaide’s urban culture was out in full force with camo being the unofficial uniform of the day. But if you missed the memo like me, not to worry; there were plenty of opportunities to get into the festival spirit with stations set up for hair braiding and glitter body paint.
A certain nostalgia filled the air of Adelaide’s Showgrounds as children of the 90s relived their youth through a series of hits from their younger years. Starting the party, J-Kwon stepped onto the stage with his gold-plated grill on show. While attempting to “seduce the ladies” with his song You and Me and performing a convincing cover of Nelly’s Hot in Here, it was his party anthems Right Thurr and Tipsy which got the crowd going.
MC for the day, Fatman Scoop, was a highlight on his own. Clad head to toe in fluorescent green lycra, his is comical entry was not one to be missed as fans chuckled at footage of him running through Adelaide, even kissing our famous ‘Malls Balls’ on his way to the show. Part way through the night, he treated fans to a special performance of his huge hit Be Faithful which, of course, ended in a shirtless and panting Scoop who admitted he may need “extra health insurance” after the show.
The RnB flava continued with Keri Hilson and her huge gold hoops, getting fans swaying with her track Knock You Down, followed by Sisqo who proved that good things do come in small packages. The pint-sized performer owned the stage with his custom dragon mic and entourage of back-up dancers. He slowed down the pace with his number one solo single Incomplete, before giving the crowd what they really wanted – to bust a move to Thong Song. The ever-sweet Brandy delivered an energetic set with her self-confessed “high-school jam” The Boy is Mine, taking the crowd back to their school years long passed.
Things heated up when Jason Derulo hit the stage and it wasn’t just the pyrotechnics which rained stars of fire onto the singer as he performed, nor the appearance of his chiselled abs when he took his shirt off. Derulo wowed the crowd with a melody of tracks including Wiggle It, Whatcha Say, Don’t Wanna Go Home, It Girl and Talk Dirty. His hits The Other Side and Trumpets started a dance floor that didn’t stop for the rest of the night. The only disappointment was that we didn’t get to hear his signature line, “Jasonnnnn Derulooooo”.
There was a seamless transition between sets thanks to the old school tracks spun by DJ Horizon and Yo! Mafia, delivering fans exactly what they wanted — an excuse to get up and dance.
As the set crew wheeled 15ft bottles of Moet onto the stage it was no surprise that the OG, 50 Cent, followed closely behind. With his thick gold chain, snap-back NY hat and diamond encrusted watch – 50 Cent is the epitome of RnB. The singer doesn’t appear to have aged in the slightest, with his same mischievous smile sending the crowd into a frenzy. Bringing all ages together with his classics Candy Shop, How We Do, P.I.M.P., Window Shopper and 21 Questions, 50 Cent shot confetti cannons into the crowd before finishing his set with an all-time favourite In Da Club.
Black Eyed Peas opened with Let’s Get It Started, and they did just that. Will.i.am admitted that “even though it’s a Sunday and this is the city of churches, we about to get crazy.” The tremble of the ground increased as everyone was up dancing to Boom Boom Pow featuring their newest female member, Jessica Reynoso from The Voice Philippines. B.E.P proved to have inter-generational appeal as despite over a decade on from release, their energetic tracks have stood the test of time.
By 9pm fans were itching for industry legend, Janet Jackson, to take the stage. Having performed at Glastonbury earlier this year as well as a Vegas residency, time doesn’t seem to have slowed down the youngest member of the Jackson family. Jackson opened the show by claiming, “this time I’m gonna do it my way” and she was certainly in control of the set. Despite rumours of lip syncing following her earlier two Australian shows, there was no sign of it tonight as she delivered an outstanding vocal performance.
At 53, Janet still danced circles around her energetic back-up dancers with fan favourites like That’s the Way Love Goes, Together Again, and All For You, pulling out some of her late brother’s infamous dance moves; tapping her crotch, and breaking out in a thriller inspired routine.
Paying homage to the King of Pop, Janet ended the night with an emotionally charged performance of Scream. “Let’s go, Mike”, said Jackson as she belted out the lyrics, with the duo’s iconic black and white film clip appearing on the big screen behind her and the crowd joining in screaming “Stop pressurin me”.
No doubt there will be plenty of sore throats and tired feet come Monday morning, following yet another epic RnB Fridays Live show. After this year’s high calibre of talent, I can’t wait to see what they serve up to RnB fans in 2020.
Live Review By Caitlin Graziano