Coming back to Radio City Music Hall right before the beginning of holiday season brings back such fond memories of experiences with my parents. Upon entering, I sat with a somber feeling that I wish I could have brought them along to enjoy the sounds of the Sun Ra Arkestra who set the stage ablaze with their ornately designed outfits, rooted in the design aesthetics wildly popular in Africa.
This is a Solange show, but this was a special surprise. You would argue that us 20-somethings don't talk avidly about jazz as much as we do hip-hop, but this crowd had a particularly sophisticated ear and appreciation for the tunes we were listening to as we waited for the queen herself to arrive. And wait we surely did.
Fortunately for us, all of the opening acts had the audience captivated by both their visuals and performance. Christophe Chassol and Jamire Williams used visuals of nature and walks of life as the undertone to their symphony. The curation between the visuals and melody created an enchanting experience that tapped into spirituality. And there seemed to be an intentional use of sound to increase the room's vibration in preparation for the star of the night.
Shortly after, Earl Sweatshirt hit the people with a show jam-packed with truth and knowledge. For fans of the Odd Future member, this is to be expected; however, this audience listened intently as if it were their first introduction to his music.
Then the lights went out and the projector lifted to unveil a geometric set. Its sphere and pyramids were covered in overcasting lights of red. All aspects appeared to carry symbolism that were then threaded into her story. This night was different as it was the one-year anniversary of A Seat at the Table. Solange candidly stopped to tell her story of the creation of this album. She spoke proudly about the achievement of using her creativity to release her frustrations and do it her way.
The impact was apparent as she was able to sell out Radio City Music Hall two nights in a row. Concertgoers experienced a short-lived moment in their seats when we were all brought to our feet by the first notes she uttered. The album itself has brought much healing and open dialogue for young men and women worldwide, but she made sure Black and Brown people knew this was "for us." It was like a wave of collective consciousness induced spiritual healing that night which made everyone come closer to one another. Her ability to show how using your influence, being honest with your thoughts, and being pure with your intentions can bring people together on a level deeper than standing next to each other in the same room.