I will admit that I was not a huge fan of Janelle Monae before I found myself at her free-ish (lawn free, pavilion seats cost money) concert as part of the Illinois Lottery Anything's Possible Music Series at the Taste of Chicago on Thursday. I had heard of her (who really hasn't, right?) and all that jazz, but I never went out of my way to truly discover her. Well I discovered her on Thursday as if I had discovered chocolate by falling into a vat of fudge. It was that delicious.
I now see why she has such passionate fans. From where we were sitting, we could see them. My favorite was a boy about 12 who was there with his mom. Clearly this was an event that might be the best night of his year. He was dancing and singing along with her all night. He was also doing that fanboy thing where he has to occasionally shake out his excitement. ADORABLE! There was also a pair of young men in the front center row who were doing the same thing. But the winner was a little girl about 3 or 4-years-old whom I could barely see through the fence dancing the hell out of the songs. I went to the concert with Keidra, of The Learned Fangirl, so it was great to have a Janelle fan along with me. Janelle did a covers of a few music legends including Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Prince, and James Brown. The crowd went wild for these!
At one point of the concert, Janelle brought out handmade signs that said "STOP THE VIOLENCE" and another that said, I believe, "STOP KILLING OUR BABIES...WE LOVE THEM." The signs were clearly quickly made and with a not very thick marker, so it was hard to read them from our vantage point. But she talked about the violence that is plaguing Chicago and asked us to sing along so loudly so the gangs could hear our love.
Overall is was a fab concert and I am so happy that I went because now I am a Janelle fan. I'm going to get some of her music and play it when I need something to kick my butt, ease my crankiness, or just want to get up and dance.
DISCLAIMER: A friend and I attended on the invitation from the Illinois Lottery. Our seats were located in the VIP section where we had access to food and drink (non-alcoholic) and an amazing view. The concert was my compensation in return for this post-event review.