Story by Barry BonyataLife must go on and so must the MTV TRL Tour. Only 24 hours after a plane crash that took the life of the young R&B talent, Aaliyah, the MTV TRL Tour rolled into Chicago's Tweeter Center. Aaliyah may not have been on the roster to perform, but she was everywhere in spirit and in heart. Every one of tonight's six performers would take a moment to pay their respects this evening.
Photos by Stevie Styles
On their first headlining tour, Destiny's Child reminded us why they are the crowned divas of MTV. The trio came out in true angel form and kicked in their set with "Independent Woman." The hits kept coming as they jumped right into "Survivor." Head diva, Beyonce and the girls worked the stage as they gyrated, pranced and shaked their money makers through one hit after another. They even paid tribute to the Queen diva herself, Tina Turner, with their rendition of "Proud Mary." These girls know how to please and only one word comes to mind, bootylicious!
Earlier in the evening the five opening acts brought moments of bliss and at times a bit of overkill. The show started off with a band that I was unfamiliar with, a trio that calls themselves City High. Their charm quickly set in. Was it the infectious smile of Claudette Ortiz, the only female rapper of the group? Or was it the music? Whatever it was they are a promising new talent not to be missed. They were quickly followed by 3LW, another trio that seems to be everywhere this year. They kept the energy hoppin' and they worked the crowd with a mastery way beyond their years. In the middle of their set, member Adrienne took a moment to say "Where ever you are we love you Aaliyah." It was a nice gesture, but bizarre to have it followed with their song "Playas Gon' Play." Still, the girls have their hearts in the right place. Next up was the sassy pop group and Bad Boy Records artist, Dream. Make no mistake, these are Puffy's girls. This may be bubble gum pop, but watching them perform their hit "He Loves You Not" was rather infectious. The song had a contagious chorus that got lodged in my head all the way home.
Next up was the Philadelphia rapper Eve. In a cloud of smoke and fire, she appeared to take us to the next level. From her red hair down to her pink stilettos the girl had it going on. This was also the first time we are honored with a set change. The stage was framed with giant scorpions and steel platforms. A nice change from the dreary black of the previous shows. In the middle of her set, Eve addressed the crowd in response to Aaliyah's death. "We need to get serious for a moment. Can we get a moment of silence? You never know how short life is." And silence she received. She may be a "Ruff Ryder" but she too has heart.
Last up was St. Louisy hip-hopper Nelly. It was the worst introduction I've ever experienced. He spent ten minutes introducing everyone in his posse, the St. Lunatics, before he ever appeared on the stage. Not to mention it's not even his show!? It was very strange and interest in the audience quickly ebbed by the time he did finally appear. Still, Nelly did kick in the hits immediately. You can't go wrong by finally starting your set with "Country Grammar" and without skipping a beat falling right into "Mid West Swing." His best moment and arguably the best tribute of the night was when his DJ added a sample to Aaliyah''s wonderful song "Try Again." Right there, at that moment they proved you don't need words to express how you feel. All you need is the power of music.
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