NEW YORK — R. Kelly last performed in the Big Apple in October 2004. He was just about in tears then, as he told the audience at a sold-out Madison Square Garden he was unable to finish his show with Jay-Z because somebody in the audience had pointed a gun at him (see “Jay-Z, R. Kelly Part Ways as Best Of Both Worlds Tour Collapses” ).
A year and change later, Kells returned to New York with his Light It Up Tour (Click here to view photos from the show). And who says New Yorkers are tough? When it comes to R. Kelly, at least, they’re softies. Tuesday’s Radio City Music Hall show, billed as “R. Kelly as Mr. Showbiz,” sold out in a day.
Kelly began the show with a flurry of records he produced and sang on, such as Nick Cannon’s “Gigolo” and Cassidy’s “Hotel.” Then the focus shifted toward Kelly’s classics with “Strip for You” and “The Greatest Sex,” off 2003’s TP-2.Com.
“My sex is so good, I have to break it down,” he told the audience during the latter record. Crowd members laughed along with Kelly as he started coming up with different lovemaking scenarios and adding them into his song, such as a session so good all you could do was hum after.
“Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm,” he sang to more laughter.
The only serious part of the show came on “I Wish,” which Kelly dedicated to the people of New Orleans.
The mood lightened up after Kelly did a quick change into jeans and a T-shirt for more hits, such as the “Ignition” remix and “A Woman’s Threat.” He also previewed an unreleased song called “The Zoo,” where he said he wanted to make love like a wild animal.
“It’s like ’Jurassic Park,’ but I’m your sexasaurus,” he sang. “You and me, hopping like two kangaroos. … You got me locked in your cage of ecstasy, and I don’t want to be free. … I’m your Tarzan, and you’re my Jane.”
The comedy went into high gear with the performance of the first three chapters of “Trapped in the Closet,” where he performed as all of the epic songs’ characters.
Kelly gave the audience a chance to dance at the end of the show, closing out with “Step in the Name of Love” and “Happy People.”
Kelly didn’t announce a release date but said his next album is going to be called Making Babies. His Light It Up Tour ends May 12 in Oakland, California.
For more sights and stories from concerts around the country, check out MTV News Tour Reports.