I thought Keyshia Cole would be up next, but before she hit the stage, we were all treated to a DJ set intended to turn the energy in the building up to ten with a musical medley of hip shakers – “Candy” (Cameo), “It Takes Two” (Rob Base), “Top Billin'” (Audio Two), “Get Money” (Notorious BIG), and “The Bridge Is Over” (KRS-1). After a few tracks, the brownstone-laden backdrop dropped and Keyshia made her way onto the stage. The crowd, mixed with a noticeable mix of people that included guys who have become fans of Keyshia as much for her vocal stylings as her penchant for kicking it back and always keeping it real, rose to their feet as she started off with “Should’ve Let You Go” and “I Changed My Mind.” She dug in her high heels and asked the crowd if they “were ready to have a good time tonight?!!” and they responded by staying on their feet for the remainder of her one-hour set.
Whereas Chrisette was all about the band, Keyshia took it over the top with her stage setup—an elaborate two-story design meant to represent the inside of a house, particularly the intimate setting of a bedroom. She explained the meaning of the set and set the record clear by saying, “I don’t try to hide nothing from no one. I am who I am.” Backed by four dancers and four DJs onstage, Keyshia sang several cuts off her latest album, Woman To Woman, and kept the crowd on their toes by dipping into the “Cole archives” for fan faves like “Over and Over” and “Give It All To Me.”
As she belted out musical mantras and crowd favorites “Should Have Cheated”, “Woman To Woman” (for which she brought someone onstage from the audience to “go there” with her), and “Trust And Believe” the crowd sang along with her in tribute and in thanks. Keyshia thanked the crowd for “going there” with her with a shout-out and a closing song, addressing the audience for the last time for the night with a heartfelt acknowledgement that went a little something like, “I always get emotional when I come to New York. New York always does it to me!”
[Photo: Getty Images]