|06-20-2007, 11:54 AM||#1|
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Review: Nelly Furtado Gets “Loose” in Denver, Colorado, June 15, 2007*
By Matt Anderson
Nelly Furtado is hot. That’s a given. But she’s even hotter when she straps on her white jumbo acoustic guitar. She’s hotter yet when it’s her white electric guitar. But then she also steps behind the drums and provides back up to her own lead drummer. En fuego.
It’s always a pleasure to see this multi-talented artist do her thing. After bursting onto the scene back in 2000 with her debut album, Whoa, Nelly!, and her first single, “I’m Like a Bird,” Nelly has carved out a niche for herself and there’s every reason to believe that niche will keep getting bigger thanks to the catchy, groovy tunes on her latest album, Loose.
Now, a mere seven years after her big debut, Nelly has three relatively diverse albums to her credit and those albums provide more than enough material for Nelly to stage a show that offers many highlights.
(Photo Credit: Matt Anderson)
On her latest tour, in support of Loose, Nelly has many reasons to strut. Thanks in part to ubiquitous Verizon commercials last summer, Loose has received much more attention than her overlooked and extremely underrated second album, Folklore. And, after more than several years in the industry, she’s been able to steer clear of the tabloids and paparazzi in favor of building a solid music catalog all her own.
Stepping right up to the concert highlights, arguably the most unique and energetic moment came courtesy of that hidden gem, Folklore. Sporting a Colorado Rapids jersey with “Furtado 07” stitched on the back, Nelly introduced the anthemic “Forca” with a little bit of trivia: “forca” means “strength” in Portuguese and she wrote the tune in tribute to the sport of soccer (aka futbol). At the same time, her four stage dancers began throwing inflatable soccer balls into the crowd, whipping up a frenzy in the process.
Ah. Then she autographed an official soccer ball and pumped her arm to launch it into the crowd. Unfortunately, it must be said, Nelly throws like a girl.
The aforementioned “I’m Like a Bird” also hit a highlight. This time Nelly amped up the tune, allowing it to fit right in with her glossy Timbaland-produced hits like “Promiscuous” and “Maneater.”
Those two were also barnburners, further heating up the already hot-to-the-point-of-stuffy Fillmore.
As for the show itself, a three-tiered stage provided the setting for Nelly’s six-piece band and backup dancers. The dancers (two female and two male) cavorted in movements that ranged from borderline ballet and interpretive to full-on synchronized, choreographed pop dance more akin to the stage work of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.
(Photo Credit: Matt Anderson)
Those dance bits offered a cover under which Nelly could go back stage and perform numerous outfit changes. None of her outfits (five of them, to be precise) would rate as anything near scandalous. Nonetheless, as relatively conservative as the outfits might have been, especially in comparison to the scanty piffles of cloth that adorned the two female dancers, it’s hardly a stretch to say Nelly makes tight black leather and denim tres chic.
But enough about the glam; the show was about the music. And Nelly knows music, smoothly segueing from “Glow” to an uncanny cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” and back again.
Throw in a mix of tunes from all three albums, including “Party,” “Try,” “Turn Off the Light,” “Wait for You,” “All Good Things,” “Te Busque,” and “Showtime,” and the end result is an impressive performance from an artist with real talent. For good measure, throw in a little craziness courtesy of Gnarls Barkley.
By closing out the show with “Maneater,” complete with some licks on that electric guitar and backup work on those drums, Nelly once again proved herself a quadruple threat: singer, songwriter, guitarist, and drummer.
Perhaps it’s to her advantage that, unlike Spears, Aguilera, and Fergie, The Mickey Mouse Club is not on her rèsumè. Nelly’s work, featuring wide-ranging musical and cultural influences, outshines the best that the House That Mick Built has to offer.
For more information about Nelly Furtado, please visit her official website at http://www.nellyfurtado.com/.
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