Erykah Badu is an enigma wrapped in a mystery surrounded by a question mark personified. She calls herself many things: Badoula Oblingada, The She E.O. and Sarah Bellum. Her voice, sustenance for the soul. Her eyes, gateways to deeper levels of perception. She brought that entire package to the Armory on Wednesday night.
The stage was lit by black lights, which made the costumes of the 10 piece band glow as they took their places on risers stage right and left. As a screen in the middle of the stage played images of bees, the band broke into “Dial’Afreaq” from the mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone, which highlighted the plight of the insects. After several minutes of the band jamming, Erykah Badu made her entrance stage left, the spotlight hit her and she appeared like a divine incarnation. As she walked toward the mic, the band stopped, and she started into “Hello”. The packed Armory reverberated as the Badu and the crowd sang as one, Hello Hello, Hey, Hello Hello.
She welcomed everyone to Badubotron, and said the only rule here was to each his own. She then broke into an insanely funky cover of the Faith, Hope and Charity tune “To Each His Own’. She was resplendent in her glittering multicolor fringe cape, but sported a ball cap instead of her ten gallon hat. The R&B dripping with the funk hits kept coming all night. The Armory echoed as the audience sang along with every word to most of the set, which included “On & On /…& On”, “Phone Down” and “I Want You”. The floor of the Armory was set up with seats for this show, but most went unused as everyone grooved like a basement make out party.
Erykah Badu is on a different level than us mere mortals, and the Armory was fortunate to be in her magical presence Wednesday night.