ALBANY — Concertgoers got a healthy dose of R&B as the “I Love Music Tour” made a stop in the The Good Life City Friday night. Tyanna Jones, Endure, Lyfe Jennings and headliner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds grooved the crowd at the Albany Civic Center.
The crowd had nearly packed the house by the time Edmonds arrived on stage. Fans swayed and were reminded of lovers both past and present as Edmonds performed hits such as “Every Time I Close My Eyes,” “Never Keeping Secrets” and “Soon as I Get Home.” With flawless transition, Edmonds had the crowd dancing in the aisles during a church style interlude. And that was just five minutes into his set.
The man responsible for what he calls “unapologetic R&B” gave fans the full experience, performing hits both old and new and even those written for other artists.
It was during the mash-up of the hit songs he’s written for others that Edmonds, much to the delight of female audience members, ripped open his shirt and made his way into the crowd. He flew down the aisles between floor seating and made his way through the Civic Center, hugging and greeting audience members and giving many in attendance an experience they’ll never forget, including Albany-based R&B group Endure.
The local foursome, made up of Jesse “JB” Barnes, Quentin “Que” Davis, Daniel “Qua” Affortu and Maurice “Nu” Mullins, opened for Edmonds in the singer’s hometown of Indianapolis, and things came full-circle for the group as it performed in its own hometown Friday. They Albany crowd had Endure’s back, singing along to originals songs “You Deserve Better” and “Sexy, Grown & Beautiful,” which Barnes said was a feeling like no other.
“Some of our songs, our original songs, they (audience members) were singing along, so for me that was the best,” he said.
Affortu echoed those sentiments, adding that the energy from the crowd helped to make it a great night overall.
“The energy from the crowd, the energy we brought to the stage, everything came together in perfect harmony,” he said.
The group followed up the powerful voice of Jones, a former “American Idol” contestant, and hit the stage before platinum-selling artist Lyfe Jennings. Jennings’ gritty, soulful voice had the crowd all ears, as he performed hits “Stick Up Kid,” his cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and his original hit “Must Be Nice,” among others.
The show was not only an opportunity to entertain hometown fans for Endure, but a learning experience as well.
“It’s always an honor to perform in a venue like this first,” Affortu said. “And then to perform with a legend, there’s always something you can take from it. We definitely can learn from Babyface.”
After closing out the show with “When Can I See You?” Edmonds met backstage with the members of Endure, and that’s when Mullins said he received one of his biggest lessons of the night.
“Stay humble,” Mullins said. “No matter how big he is, no matter how big he’s gotten, when (Edmonds is) onstage, he’s humble.When he’s offstage he’s humble, and then he brings the energy, so that was what I learned. Stay humble and keep the energy.”
The tour will continue its journey south from Albany, stopping in Jacksonville, Fla., on June 4. As for Endure, they asked that their fans stay tuned for upcoming projects.