EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey —
Incidentally, the New York radio station hosted a comeback show for R. Kelly when he was facing legal woes back in 2003. Much like Kelly six years ago, the Powerhouse fans embraced Brown with cheers and singing of their own.
After openers The-Dream, Fabolous, Day26, Trey Songz, Keri Hilson and Mario, Brown had his spotlight. Most of the opening acts were eager to see Chris get back to where he belongs: entertaining. Instead of taking off after their performances, you could see Hilson, Songz and Day26 by the side of the stage waiting to see what Brown would do.
"Chris is a performer. In spite of all that's been going on in his personal life, he's gonna get out there and perform," Songz said before Brown hit the stage. "I'm confident in that. As a friend, as a brother, I wanna see him go out there and shut it down. I believe everybody deserves a second chance. In God's eyes, none of us are perfect, and he forgives us every day. He deserves a second chance, and I commend Power 105 for giving it to him."
There was an immediate roar in the crowd as Brown came out in a black-and-red jacket that looked like a futuristic version of what Michael Jackson wore in the "Thriller" video. Brown wasted no time in getting to his new material, starting with "I Can Transform Ya." Chris began at the back of the stage with his dancers, who were all dressed in black up to their face-covering motorcycle helmets. Brown started singing and walking to the front of the stage, where Swizz Beatz also emerged to rap the song's hook.
"Wall to Wall" followed, with more high-powered dancing. In the middle of the record, Brown's DJ played Jay-Z's "On to the Next" during a choreographed breakdown. Leg kicks, krumping, slides — Brown's arsenal seems to have expanded.
"Gimme That" was next, and Brown reminded the crowd that he's getting older on the opening lyric: "The young boy now is 20." Shortly after, Brown's DJ asked him how he felt. The singer let the music speak for him as the Clipse's "I'm Good" came on.
Brown and two backup dancers walked from the back to the front of the stage with a bop and arms folded. They leaned to the left on the song's chorus, leaned to the right, then they all dropped down low. "Yo" came next, followed by "Take You Down." The latter was Brown in full heartthrob mode. Brown didn't last the entire record without ripping off of his black tank top. The ladies voiced their approval with screams.
Juelz Santana came out as special guest to debut his new single with Brown, "Back to the Crib." Next, Brown slowed the tempo and had thousands of backup singers in the crowd on his hit "With You."
"Are y'all glad Chris is back doing shows?" Brown's DJ asked the audience. The fans screamed with praise.
Brown finally spent some time speaking to the audience after they sang Jordin Sparks' parts on "No Air." "Despite my past and stuff like that, I appreciate all of y'all," he said. His words were barely audible because of the cheering.
The singer also promised to be a better man. "How long we gonna do this for? We gonna do this forever!" he also promised.
Of course, "Forever" closed the show.
"It was dope. I loved it," Omarion said after the show. "It's amazing to be able to come out and support my peers. Chris came and did his thing, all the time. Yeah, CB, he's ready. He's right and he's ready. It's time."
"Excuse my French, but that mutha----in' boy killed that sh--!" Polow Da Don exclaimed after watching Brown. "The energy was crazy. You could tell that's something that's missing in the game. He's the absolute truth. He's the future."
Earlier in the night, Mario paraded out a host of surprises during his short set. Maino came out for "All the Above," then Red Cafe joined the party with "Hottest in the Hood." Jim Jones later came out for "We Fly High." Jones was joined by DJ Webstar for "Dancin' on Me." Finally, Sean Garrett came out for the smash "Break Up."
Keri Hilson, the lone female on the bill, lit up the mic with "Turnin' Me On," "Knock You Down" and Timbaland's "The Way I Are." Trey Songz was combustible with his hits "Successful" and "I Invented Sex."