By MICHELLE SHAW
Alicia Keys sent thousands of Atlantans home in an Empire State of mind Tuesday night.
With images of Grand Central Station flashing above her head, Keys belted out “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” as the last of 17 songs she performed during her nearly two-hour Element of Freedom Tour stop at Phillips Arena.
With few disruptions, Keys put on an entertaining and educational show, using massive LED boards hanging above her to show images relating to her music. She even used the interlude between “Secrets” and “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” to promote her African missions effort “Keep a Child Alive.”
She entertained the crowd with old and new music and spent a notable amount of time at a black baby grand piano, also outfitted with LED technology.
Keys played a number of instruments during the show, but also worked the stage and engaged her fans.
The crowd as a whole appeared to be lukewarm, but the people on the floor of the arena seemed to radiate energy. Keys also at times seemed to be losing her voice, but that didn’t stop her from giving her fans “Fallin’,” her third song of the night and “Superwoman” and “If I Ain’t Got You,” toward the end of the night.
Her finish was definitely stronger than her start and her mix of old and new material left fans pleased with the show.
Opening for Keys was Melanie Fiona, who performed as if she had a full house – but didn’t – and Robin Thicke, whose falsetto wasn’t always working for him.
Fiona gave the gathering crowd all she had, including her radio hits “It Kills Me” and “Give it to Me Right.”
Thicke, on the other hand, had several devoted female fans, but his voice betrayed him a time or two during his set of eight songs. The opening notes to “Lost Without You” certainly didn’t come off as planned.
“Oh, I just cracked,” Thicke told the crowd. “Did y’all hear that? That was gross.”
He made it through the rest of the song, which was his last, without incident.
See the photo gallery from the show.