Ashanti, Ginuwine - Celebrity Theatre - 5/9/2014

Categories: Last Weekend

Jim Louvau

After a long intermission (maybe it was just an hour), Ashanti came on, two minutes before 11 p.m.

Ashanti, sporting short-medium blonde locks and clad in a sexy little black leather two-piece and flanked by sultry backup dancers, walked out to the intro of her new album Braveheart, and performed a medley of songs ("Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)"/"What's Luv?"/"Happy").

This set the tone for most of her song performances, which were often played just long enough to be noticed and sang along to before she moved onto the next one. It was a little like that friend who skips through songs after they've heard "that part that they like." Every now and then the music would stop so Ashanti could riff about her personal life, the importance of raising awareness about domestic violence, how much she hated cheaters, and (twice) to make sure the audience was listening to the lyrics of the next verse. Often, she would just stop or slow a song so she could end a cappella on songs such as "The Woman You Love." The songs and the intro/interlude verbiage seemed mutually cathartic, so the loose script and half-song/medleys didn't stop fans from singing along or getting into whatever 30-second preview was up next.

Jim Louvau

The most "Grown and Sexy" (and wholesome, if we're talking song length) part of Ashanti's show involved a few props -- folding chairs, audience members, blindfolds and handcuffs -- during her steamy new record "Early in the Morning" and "Girlfriend." Yes, there were lap dances. Yes, one guy got a lap dance from the giggling, newly bad girl Ashanti herself.
The show went back to micro-songs after another important message about the toxicity of side chicks after which she launched into "She Can't."

After getting the wrap-up sign, Ashanti worked in two songs off Braveheart, and an accolade-riddled intro to a song that really needs no introduction to anyone who could sing along during the rest of the show -- "Foolish."

Click to the next page for set lists and Critic's Notebook.

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