NEW YORK — He’s been traveling around the country on tour, and wouldn’t you know it, just his luck, Ginuwine wasn’t able to enjoy himself even when he played the live-entertainment capital of the world on Saturday.
G was confined to his Manhattan hotel room on Friday, suffering from the effects of a cold, but he had to recover in a hurry. The following night he was scheduled to perform back-to-back shows at the Beacon Theater as part of the “R&B Live — Ladies Night Out” outing.
“You gotta do it, that’s all that’s to it,” Ginuwine said, audibly congested, about performing two concerts in one night. “I always give my all on whatever I do, but since the shows are back-to-back, you just gotta pace yourself.”
G — who’s out on the road with Jagged Edge, ATL, Avant and Joe — noted that all of his roster mates have conducted themselves like professionals. “It’s been a blessing, man. I mean, we definitely been doing our thing,” he said. “There’s been no incidents or jealousy or bull crap. We just been all out here, grinding, doing what we’ve gotta to make a positive, peaceful, successful tour. So far every show we’ve done has been sold-out.
“I brought it to the table,” Gin added about how the tour was conceived. “I brought my manager and asked him, ‘Can we talk to these guys to see if they’re interested?’ I figured all of us had a single out, everybody was doing well, why not? Everybody says R&B cats have egos; if the rappers know how to get out there and make their money [together] without a whole lot of crap, we can do it too.” The acts have been so eager to work together on the road that they all share the same band, and the headliner changes depending on the city.
On Saturday night at the Beacon, the ladies were definitely out in throngs and thongs (one woman threw her underwear onstage at Avant during the second show). After an eye-blinkingly quick performance by ATL and a longer set by Avant, the evening was handed over to the bill’s three biggest acts: Jagged Edge, Gin and Joe.
Jagged Edge showed that although they’re the quintessential R&B thugs, they can still get smooth. All four men began the set wearing suits, but soon into their performance, jackets were flying and their dress shirts were hanging out of their pants — especially when they sang the hit “Let’s Get Married (Remix).”
Shortly thereafter, the foursome’s dressy attire was completely gone as they changed into jeans, T-shirts and skullcaps backstage. Jagged Edge’s set capped with “Walked Outta Heaven” and “Where’s the Party At.”
Ginuwine, who came on next, made it clear from the start that he felt the night should belong to him. “This is my muthaf—in’ house,” he shouted.
A couple of songs into his set, Ginuwine incorporated street-corner theatrics as breakdancers spun on their heads and pop-locked. Then the Washington, D.C., native displayed a little Broadway showmanship in a skit where he and his crew pretended to be on “American Idol.”
“Oh yeah, it’s always a situation with me where I want to have fun and make the people remember,” he said. “That’s why I come up with a lot of skits and things to do, so people say, ‘I like when he did this, I like when he did that.’ It ain’t about just going out there singing songs. A show isn’t just a show, a show is entertainment; it’s modeling, acting, singing and dancing all ripped into one, with the little time that we have to do it. It’s so continuous and it goes so quick that people are like, ‘Is that over?’ ”
During another skit from G’s show, one of his backup singers got on the mic and warned him that if his performance got “too freaky,” he would be arrested. Then a man dressed as a cop walked onstage twirling a nightstick.
Gin and his dancers paid the man no mind as they performed “So Anxious.” Toward the end of the song, Gin laid a white towel onstage and looked at the crowd as if he were having second thoughts about what he was going to do. He then jumped on the towel and started getting freaky. The officer immediately ran to the front of the stage and apprehended the singer. “I swear to God,” one backup dancer yelled on the mic, “they just arrested my boy.”
Later — surprise, surprise — it became evident that Gin didn’t really get carted away to the big house when he came back out dressed in an orange jail uniform. After a couple more songs and another costume change, Gin was in jeans and sneakers and ready to close out the night.
A man dressed as the wizard Merlin came onstage to perform some black magic. He started transforming Ginuwine into some of his favorite rappers, such as 50 Cent and Jay-Z. Of course, the magic trick consisted of a DJ playing each MC’s song and Ginuwine holding a giant cardboard cutout of their heads over his face while he pretended to rap.
Later in the set, a young woman came out wearing a regular-size pair of dungarees and some giant pants that looked like all three Fat Boys could have fit inside. But alas, Kool Rock-Ski, Prince Markie Dee and the dearly departed Buff Love the Human Beat Box were not in the house. Instead, Gin, with his wiry frame, jumped into her jeans — literally — and the two had a little bump and grind while he sang “In Those Jeans.”
Joe ended the night with a classically crooned set that included “Stutter,” “Ride Witcha” and “More and More.” The tour moves on to Dallas on Friday.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.