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Tamia + Mario + Chrisette Michelle, Central Park Summerstage August 22, 2010

Ernest Barteldes By

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Tamia + Mario + Chrisette Michelle
Central Park Summerstage
New York, NY
August 22, 2010

During an afternoon dedicated to neo-soul music, Canadian-American vocalist Tamia took the stage backed by a solid five-piece band. Her set list comprised mostly of romantic-tinged tunes that explored her wide vocal range that brought to mind the early work of Mariah Carey. She also demonstrated eclecticism by including a few tunes with a Latin influence (which featured her guitarist playing an acoustic guitar). One of the set's highlights was a tune that spoke about loving oneself before falling for someone else, and also her 2000 hit "A Stranger in My House," which had the entire audience singing along.

After a brief break that included a surprise appearance of Salt (from 80s duo Salt n' Peppa), vocalist Mario came on with a rhythm-heavy tune that quickly got the audience on their feet. Emanating great energy from the stage, he quickly engaged fans as he went through several hits from his catalogue, which ranges from 2000 to present. Fans responded well by singing along with him. During one song, he left the stage and got closer to the audience. Like Tamia, his material tends to go into a more romantic side, which seems to hit a chord with his supporters.

Headliner Chrisette Michelle came on with a six-piece band behind her, starting off with the title number from her 2009 disc Epiphany (Def Jam). Differently from the previous performers that day, Michelle has strong jazz skills, and that became evident when she scatted during her songs. She also gave her band plenty of space to showcase their individual skills (something that did not at all happen during the previous sets). She also stood out by varying genres, including funk, ballads and R&B.

For the encore, she invited rapper Rick Ross for a duet, and then left the stage as he closed the proceedings with his hit single "One Nation Under God."

The evening was one of the higher points of this year's roster at Central Park Summerstage, which included the likes of Salif Keita, Stanley Clarke and Brazil's Os Paralamas do Sucesso, and was a suitable manner to end the month of August and one of the final performances at the main stage for 2010

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