Solange at Webster Hall
Finally – I was successful in obtaining tickets to a Solange concert in New York. Since the release of her True EP, it has been a mission to have these tickets in my hand since they would sell out in mere minutes. Trying to define who Solange is to others seems to always find itself around “Beyonce’s sister;” a stamp that seems hard to wash off for the younger Knowles. Alas, Solange has made quite the name for herself in the music business and her constantly sold out shows are only proof of this. I arrived around 9 p.m. hoping to save a spot close enough to the stage, but I had underestimated the fans’ commitment and walked in to a venue packed and overflowing with people. As I stood there, anxiously waiting for Solange, the lights dimmed and the crowd gradually cheered together to welcome her to the stage.
Solange stepped out decked in a three piece suit and heels that seemed impossible to move in, but she seems to defy the odds and without breaking a sweat, literally moves in to the first song of the night, “Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work.” The stage was visually striking – it resembled Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night for the technological age. The stars twinkled in motion with Solange and never skipped a beat. As the set progressed, the dance choreography seemed to chronologically tell a story for each song. Without a doubt her latest single “Losing You" was one of the best of night, Solange effortlessly recreated the dance choreography from the music video along with most of the crowd, including my friend David who had been practicing those moves for weeks. “Shine the light out to the audience, I wanna see their faces,” a smiling Solange said into the microphone. It was easy to tell that she was grateful for tonight and every other night.
Aside from the casual picture I took on my phone and the always-in-the-way man with an iPad, people kept their phones away and dedicated their night to dancing and having fun with Solange. This night at Webster Hall was dedicated to hardcore Solange fans belting out every word from 2010’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams to her latest True EP, my personal favorite. Before I could take a breath in between songs, she would start a new one, ready to keep going full of energy. The crowd was already getting too wild, which almost caused me to get into a fight with a woman who would not stop shoving me. She stuttered over her words and said to me, “YO, hav-e you never been to a… ROCK SHOW before?” Almost immediately I regretted saying anything to this person, throughout the show I had to deal with her side comments about my dancing, purposeful shoves and passive aggressive wave goodbye after the show was done. Surprisingly enough, Solange’s good energy missed out on her that night.
By far my favorite song of the night was her song “Don’t Let Me Down” from her True EP. After hearing and seeing that song live it made me hope that a quick search on YouTube for a dance tutorial would help me imitate what Solange did on stage. Her swift, but almost swaggering dance moves made for the perfect balance of confidence. During this song, the background singers take the lead and Solange grooves across the stage, enticing the crowd to follow in her footsteps. If only I had as much swag as Solange.
Solange picked a song cover that not only resonates to my cultural background, but a song that I have never heard someone cover so beautifully since Jennifer Lopez did it herself in the movie. Her cover of Selena’s “I Could Fall In Love” took me by surprise and it is easy to say that she owned it. For a moment, the band was silenced and the only people that could be heard were Solange and about 2,500 of her fans. It was truly a spine chilling performance that celebrated women in music.
To close the night, Solange chose to perform her single “Sandcastle Disco” which made Webster Hall shake with the echo of the audience singing the words back to the stage. As soon as it started, it ended. Everyone cleared out faster than they came in. Webster Hall was nobody’s but Solange’s that night.
Solange recently collaborated with New York artist Mickalene Thomas to reimagine her True EP album cover. The limited edition album is available at Opening Ceremony stores and online.
- Stephanie Orentas
A blog about art and culture in NYC from the members of the Artful NYC class at Eugene Lang College.