The Dell’s annual Essence of Entertainment concert series started with a bang Thursday. Rain or shine, the show still went on and proved to be well worth the storm.
After 7 set the tone for the show with some fan favorites like “Ready or Not” and “Nights Like This,” blurring the lines between the past and present with a crowd as nostalgic as ever. The group got up close and personal with the crowd by going up and down the aisles, even serenading some of the people in the audience. With umbrellas in hand and ponchos on their backs, the fans still embraced the trio with open arms.
Johnny Gill took the stage next with both solo classics and New Edition hits. Everything from “My My My” to “Can You Stand the Rain” left the crowd on their feet from start to finish, and the fans showed the rain wouldn’t come in between them and their trips down memory lane. The singer wasn’t reluctant to let the crowd get as close to the stage as they wanted, with concert-goers nearly an arm’s distance away from him in the flesh. The former New Edition singer showcased a wide range of talents throughout his performance, from dancing to even playing the drums. He left the audience well entertained throughout his set from beginning to end, with no room for a dull moment.
Jaheim closed out the show with both old and new hits alike. He started his set with an unexpected collaboration performance of “5,000 Miles” with Johnny Gill that made the audience go wild. One of the newer songs of the night, the hit was just released this past February. “Put That Woman First” seemed to be a particular weakness among the Dell crowd last night, with all of the ladies singing the song word for word and practically pushing each other aside to touch the singer’s hand and grab one of his roses. Everywhere the singer went, the crowd followed, and as the singer walked through the aisles, the rain didn’t seem to stop fans from trailing closely behind as he concluded his set with “Just in Case.”
The Dell’s opening show for 2017 Essence of Entertainment has set a remarkable tone for the rest of the season, and there is much more to come.