Date: November 16, 2013
City: Oakland, CA
Venue: Paramount Theater
Artist: Keith Sweat
Opening Act(s): K-Ci & JoJo, John Michael
I remember buying “I’ll Give All My Love to You” on cassette and a friend buying me the “Keep It Comin’” CD for Christmas. The slow jams at high school dances always included Keith Sweat. KBLX selecting Keith Sweat as the headliner for their Hot Winter Night concert was my chance to finally see him live.
Keith Sweat’s voice was as smooth as it was on cassette and CD. I wasn’t able to find the setlist for this show. I tweeted Keith Sweat, KBLX and Live Nation. No one responded with a photo of the setlist and there was nothing on my usual source, setlist.fm. I believe he performed all of the following songs and possibly others I am less familiar with.
• Keep It Comin’
• I Want Her
• How Deep Is Your Love
• Ill Give All My Love To You
• Merry Go Round
• Tellin’ Me No Again
• I Knew That You Were Cheatin
• Make it Last Forever
• Don’t Stop Your Love
• Something Just Ain’t Right
• Make You Sweat
During one song he started to talk about how he was really feeling it and that he felt that someone was going to get pregnant tonight. He asked a woman how long it had been since she had had sex. She said, “About two months.” He asked her again, but this time she said, “Maybe one month.” He told her to go away because she’d already lied to him and he didn’t want to start a relationship with a liar. He told her he would have to get her pregnant from afar. She went back to her seat and he finished the song.
At one point during the show he said he wanted to come into the crowd, but he needed to take off his stuff before he did. As he was taking off his chain he said that if people started grabbing on him he was going to go back on the stage. I couldn’t see him when he walked into the audience, but I am assuming that people starting crowding into the aisle with their camera phones because he said they needed to step back and spread apart like the sea. At some point he said something like “See, there you guys go, grabbing on me already.” He didn’t stay in the audience that much longer.
Four single women and two couples were invited up to sit on stage. Keith Sweat asked the couples a few a questions. One couple met when they were 12 but only started dating three months ago when they ran into each other again. The other couple has been married for either 17 or 27 years and has three children. Keith Sweat asked the husband whom they listen to when they make love. The guy answered “Luther Vandross”. The crowd roared with laughter at Keith Sweat’s reaction. He asked the guy “You couldn’t lie? You aren’t at a Luther Vandross show.” He asked the guy how many kids they have and he said three. Who were you listening to when you made your second baby? The guy answered, “Freddie Jackson”. The crowd roared again. Keith Sweat said, “You had a second chance and you still couldn’t lie?”
The single women and couples got to stay on stage for the final three songs of the show. One couple came on stage so the man could propose to his girlfriend during what I believe was “Nobody”. She said yes and Keith Sweat talked to them after the song. He asked the guy if he had been waiting for that one song all night. The guy said he had been and it had been a long night of waiting. I wonder how the guy would have proposed if Keith Sweat had not performed that song.
Keith Sweat did a bit of self-promoting of his new album, the Sweat Hotel Cruise and his website and social media before performing his last song. It was a great show. Keith Sweat still has it.
K-Ci & JoJo were a disaster. Their entire set was a mess. K-Ci was slurring his words as he spoke. You could hardly hear JoJo sing unless his mouth was directly on the mic. I wasn’t sure if it was the sound, the back up singers or if they were just terrible. JoJo would take the mic away from K-CI from time to time. K-Ci talked about how he promised his momma that he wouldn’t get naked but then started to take off his jacket, shirt and belt. He was grabbing at his crotch and was being crude.
It was like they didn’t even bother to rehearse. Even the backup singers weren’t in sync with the show. As soon as the performance was over I turned to my friend and said, “That was a mess.” After seeing Keith Sweat perform I knew it was their performance. When leaving the show I overheard a couple of women talking about what a disappoint K-Ci and JoJo were. One even said that alcoholism is a terrible disease. I wasn’t the only one that thought it was a disaster and that K-Ci was obviously intoxicated.
I caught the last two songs of John Michael’s performance. I wasn’t too familiar with his music, but he had a pretty good voice.