June 16, 2007
Better Than: Her CDs, by far.
No Opener: Just Raw Stone
For a girl that hails from the white cliffs of Dover, England, Joss Stone is way into color - which made her magenta hair and loud, patterned dress easily identifiable from the second floor of Ft. Lauderdale's Revolution where fans killed pre-show boredom, due to the absence of an opening act, by pressing noses up to voyeur-friendly windows above the club's curtained-off backstage area. “Wow, I'm old enough to be her dad,” one man commented to his wife as two older women bitched in thick Jewish accents about the lack of munchies on the craft services table. “Just potato chips?” one of the cougars yelled over mood-inducing Erykah Badu tunes that blared from the club's speakers.
Outside, a sea of salt-and-peppered heads surrounded the stage when it started to pour. The audience cheered loudly, refusing to let a little precipitation rain on their parade. Two Aretha Franklin-types took stage-left and produced the vocal equivalent of a red carpet, introducing the R&B-diva with a funk-defied version of Iron Butterfly's “Inagaddadavida.” When Miss Stone finally took the stage, her fans created a reception so warm and genuine that, fan or not, it was hard not to smile. Or be excited.
Stone dove into her hour-long set with “Girl They Won't Believe It” proving that girlfriend has just as much of a right as fellow-Brit Amy Winehouse to the black, American music that she has been scrutinized by critics for singing. Camera phones flickered like glitter as Stone progressed into lyrically-clever classics like “Jet Lag”, delighted with Billboard-topper “Are you Digging on Me?”, and revisited her first album of original material Mind, Body & Soul with “You Had Me”. During horn solos Stone would groove with zeal, working up a sweat in the blatant humidity, but charmingly played-off her discomfort from the heat by joking “So much for make-up”. The set concluded with intersecting a cover of Gnarles Barkley's “Crazy” with her current single “Tell Me About It” and even played an encore--despite the sauna-like conditions-- dedicating her fourteen-years-old-penned “A Right to be Wrong” to an elusive Mr. D and a short cover of Bob Marley's “No Woman, No Cry” which played as the audience filtered out of the club soaked in rain, sweat, and plenty of soul. -- Elyse Wanshel
Personal Bias: The only thing I knew about Joss Stone before the concert was a rumor that she sleeps with producers for songs.
Random Detail: Seen backstage before the show talking intimately with a woman in a yellow dress - Very intimately.
By the way: Her first album Soul Sessions was recorded in Miami with soulseters Benny Latimore, Timmy Thomas, Little Beaver.