Ms. Never Miss: Erykah Badu

How she compels her fans to keep coming back

Erykah Badu at the Pearl, June 24, 2010

The Details

Erykah Badu
The Pearl, June 24
Four stars

I’ve caught Erykah Badu’s last seven Las Vegas shows, dating back to January 2003. That’s more than I’ve seen any other nonlocal act over that time span, and I’d see her again tomorrow if she doubled back. Why? With every concert, I’m more convinced we’re witnessing a once-in-a-generation caliber performing artist.

Thursday’s Pearl stopover wasn’t her absolute best (that honor, in my book, goes to 2004’s all-night House of Blues party), yet it had me mesmerized for two solid hours. Badu’s catalog is strong, but her shows aren’t really about her songs; they’re about her—the way she does exactly what she feels onstage, in attitude, appearance and musical adventuousness. She’s a siren one second, a rapper the next. She’ll rearrange “I Want You” so much you’ll barely recognize it; shout “remix!” at the start of “Appletree,” then accelerate the tempo times 10; and cap off the pleasant “Didn’t Cha Know” with a soaring vocal jam that seems to surprise even her ready-for-anything band.

It’s not for everyone. Want the hits the way you know ’em? Stay home and play the records. But if you’re looking for something fresh and challenging, well, Badu’s always got ya covered.

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Spencer Patterson

Spencer Patterson is the Editor of Las Vegas Weekly, having previously served as Managing Editor, Arts & Entertainment Editor and ...

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