Sunday, October 6, 2013
Concert review: Kelly Rowland was the perfect side dish for a Saturday at the State Fair
The Houston native didn't linger on one era too long, playing a scaling set of Destiny's Child hits and her own chart-topping tracks.
FAIR PARK Consider adding the State Fair of Texas to your fall concert venue list: Molly Ringwald, Blondie, and Kelly Rowland are just a few names who have already graced the stage. Rowland played on a chilly Saturday afternoon to a crowd hanging on her every word. The Texas native has been busy: She’s currently filming as a judge for The X Factor, supporting her fourth solo release, Talk A Good Game, and playing a few live shows in between.
The crowd who lined up to watch Rowland was not passersby stopping to see what the noise was about; many were serious fans, anxious to see the other big name from Destiny's Child. With no production, Rowland kicked off the set with “Ice” alongside two male backup dancers. The focus was on her velvety voice instead of her feet — she left the dancing to the boys for the most part, saving her moves for the bigger numbers.
She remained warm and connected to the crowd throughout the 50-minute set, admitting she had not been home to Texas in a while and that she was grateful to be back. Whether focusing on her 2013 release or past collaborations, the sultry singer offered colorful vocal runs throughout the set. Her 2002 hit with Nelly, “Dilemma,” turned into a singalong, making the outdoor stage feel like a true concert instead of a midday distracton.
Producer and singer Kevin Cossom came out for his part in title track “Talk A Good Game,” delivering some texture to the wrinkle-free set. His punchy lines pushed back on Rowland’s sweet notes, making her work a little harder for the spotlight. She matched the somber tone of the controversial and brutally honest track “Dirty Laundry” by taking a seat front and center, hitting the track head-on instead of rushing through it. The song touches on a past abusive relationship and sitting in Beyonce’s shadow after Destiny’s Child. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s worth a listen.
Staying on the weighted subject of abuse, Rowland admitted she had not followed her own advice of remaining strong and true to herself heard in some of Destiny’s Child’s biggest hits. A full-blown nostalgic mash up ensued, with “Survivor,” “Independent Women” and “Soldier,” for the fans who had been with her before she was a solo act. This back half of the set was worth missing that extra corn dog for: Rowland followed up her look-back with the best of the present, in sensual numbers “Motivation” and “Kisses Down Low.” She strutted and popped to the beats, finally showing off some of her moves at the end.
Even if her former band mate and childhood friend Beyonce is on top, Kelly Rowland is not far behind, selling her own sensual brand of independence with a stunning smile.