This has been a year of exceptional live music. Way back in January, I said I was going to be outside this year. And specifically, I was going to get back to enjoying live music. I love music. I can’t sing worth a lick, but I can dance, so a win is a win. I have officially reached the age where I find myself complaining about the music of this generation. It sounds like noise? Yep. These kids don’t know what good music is? Yep. These lyrics are garbage? Yep. I have said all of the above. When did I turn into my mom? I don’t know. But here we are.
Back to this music situation. I’m going to stand ten toes down and tell you that R&B music from the 90s was the greatest of all time. It was top tier. Argue with your mama. So, when I had a chance to see Babyface, Mr. 90s R&B himself, at the Washington State Fair, I jumped at the chance. He was accompanied by SWV. I get so weak just thinking about it. Hehehe. When I tell you a time was had, I mean it.
The concert was the last weekend of the state fair, and I was excited that after 15 years of living in Seattle, I was finally going to make it to the fair. I have tried in previous years and something else always came up, preventing me from making it out. This year was the year. In true Seattle fashion, the weather turned on us and the first day of fall was ushered in with nonstop rain. Sometimes, torrential downpour. For the record, that is not normal for Seattle!!! We get rain, but it’s not rain, rain.
So, concert day starts with rain and because this is actually the first rain Seattle has seen in a while, it was fraught with accidents. As we were making our way to the fair, we witnessed a few. Thankfully, we made it safely to the fairgrounds in Puyallup with no incidents. The concert started at 7:30 so we had a few hours to enjoy the fair. For me, that meant fair food. I got a delicious smoked turkey leg and a Fischer scone. I wanted a funnel cake but sadly, I was too full to indulge. We took a tour of the horticulture and agriculture displays and avoided the animals. They don’t smell great in normal weather, but they smell awful in rainy weather. I’m also not one for the rides because those things are not really regulated and I’m also not a thrill seeker. So, I guess you could say my “doing the fair” was a little on the lame side. But it put a smile on my face and that’s all that matters!
Finally, it was time for the concert. We made our way to the amphitheater and our covered seats to enjoy the show. I have to say it felt great to be out of the rain! When I tell you I sang my little off-key heart out, I mean it. From start to finish, it was jam after jam, hit after hit. SWV kicked us off with all of their bangers. When they sang rain, it was actually rain, pure magic. Then they sang Weak, it was like the entire audience was back in 1992, feeling the heartache or longing of first love and we sang like our lives depended on it. Magical.
When Babyface took the stage, I was reminded of how incredibly gifted he is as a musician, songwriter and producer. The first half of his set was a trip down memory lane from his first album to his latest music. The second half was him poppin his collar and showcasing his endless stream of chart toppers for legendary artists like Bobby Brown, Tevin Campbell, Johnny Gill, TLC, Toni Braxton and more. I mean, we really sang the soundtrack of my childhood. I was born in the 70s and came of age in the 80s and 90s. This music was foundational to who I am as a woman and black woman. We sang what I like to call actual music. Good music. Iconic music. A time was had.
I spent the next few weeks listening to every album featured in this concert and smiling at the memories from that time in my life. Music does that. It can unlock feelings, moments in time. Good music reminds you of just how powerful words and art really are. I’m thankful for all of the music I have had a chance to connect with live so far this year. There are still a few more shows to come. And yes, they are for amazing artists who have made outstanding music for multiple decades. Good music. Top tier music. 90s R&B!