She Randy Watson-ed the microphone, after rapping on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra stage!!!! Janelle Monáe, her band and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave a rousing 90minute intermission free performance that had attendees like myself enthralled throughout.
Janelle Monae, Band, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
A week prior, it was announced that the original slated guest performer, Aretha Franklin, had taken ill and would be unable to perform. In a situation like this most would scramble or worse replace the artist with a sub par performer, not the forward thinking Chicago Symphony Orchestra, in this instance. They quickly announced that Bad Boy/Atlantic Records Grammy nominated recording artist Janelle Monáe would replace Aretha Franklin and what a strategic but fantastic decision that was! When you mix in the voice of an Ella Fitzgerald with the energy of James Brown and Michael Jackson the stage presence of Prince, you have Janelle Monáe.
In the age where storied civic institutions are looking for the next generation of supporters and patrons, having Janelle Monáe perform for a fundraising specific evening such as corporate night, chaired by William A. Von Hoene, Jr(Exelon) & Jetta Boschen, was a coup. It opened her talent to a new audience that probably was not aware of her music previously but loved every minute of the show.
I come here humbly as an artist-Janelle Monáe
The highly anticipated performance did not disappoint from the uptempo opening number with Ms. Monáe singing, backed up by the symphony under the direction of conductor Sean O’Loughlin, her band and her signature dance moves, ah.maze!
During the concert she performed some of her hits including the newly released Q.U.E.E.N which produced one of the best highlight of the evening with Ms. Monáe singing “The Booty Don’t Lie” and she did just that, gyrated that booty and made that foot work, on stage, it was awesome.
Other songs performed included the Jackson 5 hit “I want you back” “Goldfinger” Prince and so much more; 90 minutes went by too fast. Guests in attendance clapped for more and when the concert finally ended The Orchestra, Janelle Monáe and the band were greeted with a well deserved standing ovation.
This was definitely one of the best performances I’ve been to in a while because it combined all facets of music. Following the concert there was an afterparty which gave some of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra board members, trustees and the League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association Committee an opportunity to mingle and chat with the band. Violin(electric) soloist Alex Page expressed to one board member in attendance how lucky and grateful they were to have been chosen to perform with the illustrious Chicago Symphony orchestra.
I hope this won’t be the last of these kind of collaborations with the CSO. Other civic institutions should take note, this was something new that was done just right.
Corporate night was made possibly by teh donation and support of corporations such as Ariel Investments, Chicago Tribune, ITW, Northern Trust, Suidley Austin LLP, United Airlines, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Bank of America, pwc, Deloitte, Exelon and many more.