Alicia Keys dazzles at the Verizon Center with a combination of arena style numbers and intimate favorites.
By Michael M. Clements
The Alicia Keys concert at the Verizon Center was buzzing last night, especially when first lady Michelle Obama arrived with daughters Sasha and Malia. I guess you could say there were two First Ladies in the house – the First Lady of R&B and the First Lady of the United States. Washington Life was backstage before the concert to meet with the dynamic Keys thanks to a special invitation by the makers of low-calorie fruit drink, Fuze, who partnered up with Keys on her Element of Freedom Tour, which began March 3 ends April 9, and includes stops in 19 cities in 13 states.
Our whirlwind night began at a cocktail reception at modern Mexican hot-spot Zengo Restaurant in Chinatown where we met up with Fuze’s Shaun Thein Swe, Pergrin Pervez, WL photographer Tony Powell and a number of our favorite writers including Tara Palmeri from Yeas and Nays, Kate Michael from K Street Kate, Felice Cherry from Pamela’s Punch, and Madeleine Starkey from The Scene Biznow. After some tasty appetizers and mojitos, we were whisked over to meet Keys before the concert. She was as gracious and beautiful as she is talented. I asked Keys if she was going to write a song about D.C. next – I mean, the New York thing worked out nicely, didn’t it? She smiled and said she would consider it. Perhaps a career in diplomacy might be in her future? Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to rope her into D.C.’s favorite past-time, political punditry. If we did, we’re sure she would have mentioned her work with charity, Keep a Child Alive. You can read WL’s Music Matters columnist Tommy McFly’s article on her charity work here.
We were then whisked away again, this time from backstage to around the massive set and into our seats where we enjoyed opening act Robin Thicke’s sexy I’m-in-Vegas thing and all of Key’s concert, which swung from big arena style high-energy dance numbers to more intimate solo piano performances. The tour follows the release of Key’s album The Element of Freedom, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s R&B Albums and Digital Albums charts and #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart. “Everyday I am seeing the realization of a dream,” Keys tweeted three weeks ago. “I have never been more excited about a tour & every day it gets closer 2 how I envisioned.”
You can view a video of our adventures here: