The rare instance of a live Monica concert in Detroit drew a capacity crowd that was 98 percent African-American female, with the other two percent being the men who attended on dates with part of the 98 percent of women at the show.
Monica herself mentioned from the stage “I can’t remember the last time I played in Detroit.”
The singer, who is one of the best selling R&B artists of the last twenty years, brought her Code Red tour to Detroit in support of her new album “Code Red” which drops on December 18. The 36 year old clocked in a hour long set packed with 20 songs highlighting her past hits and cuts from the new album. She was backed by a pair of singers, a pair of dancers a drummer, keyboardist and dj.
But the star of the set was Monica’s incredible voice, with her vocal inflections at times causing the crowd to react. Unlike many pop artist of the day, she allowed the talent of her voice to be the star of the show, and needed none of the special effects seen at so many modern concerts.
Hitting the stage resplendent in a multi-colored mini dress covered by a floor length black coat and walking the stage in stiletto heels and dyed red hair, Monica took the crowd back to her hit filled past by opening with First Night, from the Boy is Mine album. She would bounce in and out of her hits as she peppered the set with songs from the new album.
The packed house responded to her voice, and sung along to all the hits to the point where she could stop singing and let the crowd do the work. It gave the show a down-home feel that actually came to a climax during a medley in which Monica, who had just retuned to the stage after a wardrobe change into a see through black hoop dress, stopped singing her hit “Angel of Mine” to address a commotion in the audience. The crowd had turned and started shouting as Marcus Odoms dropped to a knee in the audience to propose to his fiancé Roneisha Ragland. Monica saw what was going down, stopped the song, and invited the two onstage saying, “If your gonna do that you gotta do it up here. I just saw him drop down to one knee.”,
After saying a few words to the crowd, Odoms then dropped to a knee onstage and proposed with a ring. Ragland grabbed the ring and put it on herself. It characterized the night perfectly.
Before starting a 6 song medley of hits including For You I Will, Believe in Me, Should’ve Known Better, All Over Me, Angel of Mine and Until it”s Gone, Monica mentioned the well documented problems she has had in her life, and it appears the nearly all female crowd was there as a support group for her and each other. The crowd was on there feet for much of the show, and sing alongs to the hits were par for the course of the evening.
Songs from the new record featuring Timberland and Akon were presented via video, as well as her biggest hit, “The Boy is Mine.” She closed the show in a bit of a awkward moment, with no encore and introducing the winner of a contest by the tour sponsors. The truncated set could have been extended by stretching out some of the songs in the medley, and her voice deserved more time with the audience.
Opening the set was songwriter/rapper/singer Rico Love, who is better known as a songwriter for artist such as Usher and Beyonce. He is one of the few performers who can bounce back and fourth between rapping and singing. He performed with no band, and informed the crowd that they would not know much of the material that he was performing, and he was correct, but still moved the crowd despite the lack of a band.
Monica set list.
Don’t Take it Personal
Before You Walk Out of My Life
Timberland video break
Love Just Ain’t Enough
Call My Name
Why I Love You So Much
For You I Will/Believe in Me/Should’ve Known Better/All Over Me/Angel of Mine/Until It’s Gone
I Miss You
Everything to Me
Boy Is Mine-Video
Right for Me