|Nona @ BB King's NYC, from my iPhone, photo by Jade Da Ru|
It was the official release performance for her fantastic new album (the first in 20 years but worth the wait), Mutatis Mutandis, available on Amazon in the US and on Amazon UK.
She took to the stage in a black jacket with attached flounce skirt, only to unzip and doff it shortly into her set, revealing an amazing, gym-fit body in black spandex, tattoo-patterned black stockings and platform shoes. Attention divas of the day: this is how to look sexy without looking cheap.
|Gitcha gitcha yaya, dada!|
Nona parted ways with the group and began an outstanding solo career, writing most of her songs, with a unique funk/soul/techno/disco fusion all her own. The integrity of that style, with additional flourishes, are on Mutatis Mutandis, I'm happy to report.
Requested to sing the Ellie Greenwich-penned "Keep It Confidential," a club hit for Nona, the diva responded by doing an improv abridged version, stepping offstage and walking through the front tables of the audience, accapella, with the crowd's in-time clapping as percussion with assist from the band and back-up girl riffs. Amazing live moment!
Her new album is quite political, with timely numbers on it like "Tea Party" and "The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh." She didn't do these onstage, however, but dived right into the big, splashy funk-disco of "Temple of Heaven," "Let's Give Love a Try" and "Mad As Hell," a politically tinged number you can dance to. Get your anger out your ass!
Nona's four-piece band was outstanding, as were the back-up vocalists. There was a man in black and two bodacious black girls in trashy tight, white tank tops and hot pants. Such were the costumes of the night but, boy, could they sing!
I love Nona's unique groove, so much more than the group Labelle could possibly ever handle. Her recent vocal evolution includes a rich falsetto breaking from her alto voice, put to good and charismatic use.
This impomptu chorus dance ultimately ended with the audience members turning around, backs to the still seated audience members, shaking their booties for a full minute at a time, along with Nona's, largely to comic effect. At this point, a good time was had by all and it signaled the end of the set.
We left BB King's elevated, wrung out, blissed out, very pleased and elevated in every way, onto hot, crowded 42nd Street. Welome back, Nona. Come back with your comeback soon!
[Opening act, Ryan Shaw, did a smooth soul set, in the solid tradition of Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross, for examples. His soulful cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday" was a true highlight.]
Classic Bluebelles music below: