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A tardy Erykah Badu learns the Chastain way

It’s never a good sign when the main act doesn’t come on stage until 9:50 p.m. At least not at Chastain Park Amphitheatre.

Maybe no one bothered to tell Erykah Badu before Saturday night’s show that as one fan put it “they don’t play that at Chastain.”

An hour after neo-soul (who’s sounding more rock than soul these days) singer Bilal left the stage, the only sign of Badu was a few members of her band tipping on stage to begin a smooth instrumental groove without her. Five minutes later, at 10 minutes till 10, the sold-out crowd got their first glimpse of Badu with her blonde mohawk fashioned hairdo.

For the next hour and 10 minutes, she put on show that was smoldering with funk, slick groves, and good old-school reminiscing. Just as she was about to put the show in high gear, the sound was gone. A startled Badu started checking her mic, before realizing she had been cut off for the night. It was after all 11:01 p.m. Fans started to boo as Badu took her final bow and exited the stage.

Yes, there are a million reasons why fans love Badu.  Here a just three — along with one reason why she drives them crazy:

Free your mind. Without a doubt, Badu is one of the best lyricist out there. She gives you food for thought: I was born under water with three dollars and six dimes. She makes you check yourself: One day all them bags gone get in your way. So pack light. And she makes us laugh: You don’t ever buy me nothin’. See everytime you come around you gotta bring Jim, James, Paul and Tyrone.

New Amerykah Part 2 (Return to Ankh). Her new album, released last March, with its strong instrumentation, infectious hooks and romantic theme, reminds us of the Badu fans fell in love with after her debut album “Baduizm.” Hearing Badu perform it live? Priceless.

Way back. That’s where the 39-year-old Dallas singer took Atlanta Saturday night. Not just with her own songs like “On & On” and “Love of My Life,” but classic hip-hop beats like Whodini ’s “Friends,” Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di” and N.W.A.’s “Life Ain’t Nothin…” By this point, you’ve forgiven the tardiness, thinking being on time is overrated if you can lose yourself in late ’80s, early ’90s for just a few moments. But then, you don’t really expect it to come to an end so soon, which brings us to the reason she drives us crazy:

Punctuality. Being on time has never been Erykah Badu’s thing. She is notorious for being fashionably late and yes, even rudely late. It’s not fair to fans that they spent more time waiting in their seats, than actual time listening to music from Badu. It’s not fair that just as you’re about to sway into “Didn’t Cha Know,” all you can hear is the audience singing. Silent microphone, just like that.

But rules are rules, and perhaps Badu should take to heart what she told fans early in her set:” Thank you for being patient. I don’t take it for granted.”

183 comments Add your comment

Browncoat

August 15th, 2010
9:20 am

Rude is the right word. Her fans in attendance should be mad, instead they will keep buying her music and concert tickets, and she will go right on treating them like cattle.

jc_atl

August 15th, 2010
9:26 am

People should just boycott Chastain. If you want your favorite artist to play at a decent venue, don’t buy Chastain tickets.

msbssy

August 15th, 2010
9:27 am

even when on time, chastain is not a good spot for r&b, jazz, rock, or hiphop concerts. I prefer Lakewood, where the headliner can play into the wee hours.

R

August 15th, 2010
9:31 am

Boycott Chastain? Please… it’s one of the best venues in the city. It sits directly in the middle of a residential neighborhood… why shouldn’t they have a noise ordinance that’s enforced? Instead, perhaps Diva Badu should refund 50% of the ticket price to her fans that only got to hear half the show… probably because she was backstage smoking weed while her fans waited for her to appear.

Rude

August 15th, 2010
9:34 am

Chastain is fine but it’s in the middle of a neighborhood so late night noise restraints are in order. It’s no secret that the music has to stop at 11:00, she knew it, her managers and crew knew it. Showing up that late just shows that she doesn’t care about her fans.
She should take a note from 38 Special, who was there on Friday night. They started on time and floored it until the last second they could play. Way to go guys!

Respect

August 15th, 2010
9:35 am

It’s like being in the doctor’s office, you better be on time, but they have you waiting forever, just to see you for five minutes! Respect people’s time! Show up and show out! Badu has the talent, but that so disrespectful to have her fans waiting like that!

laurrudia

August 15th, 2010
9:37 am

homey don’t play that

smartestone

August 15th, 2010
9:55 am

Love Badu and her music but would never go see her in concert because of the arrogance of coming on stage late. I ain’t having it.

Ronnie Ronzul

August 15th, 2010
10:05 am

Typical. Would you really expect anything less from this broad? She better call Tyrone or Listerine or whoever it is she be calling these days.

Babs

August 15th, 2010
10:07 am

I wouldn’t waste my time or money on some diva that can’t get herself to the stage on time. Chastain should put it in their contract that in order to play their venue, you must start on time or not be paid and the money refunded to the patrons.

outonleave

August 15th, 2010
10:12 am

??? Eryka Badu was the opening act?
You open the article with, “It’s never a good sign when the opening act doesn’t come on stage until 9:50 p.m.”
Third paragraph: “Five minutes later, at 10 minutes till 10, the sold-out crowd got their first glimpse of Badu”
Sumpin ain’t right here.

Tracy Brown

August 15th, 2010
10:20 am

Thanks outonleave. Think we caught that about the same time.

Elliot Garcia

August 15th, 2010
10:21 am

Verizon Wireless Amphitheater is way better than Chastain….OTP baby!

nosy

August 15th, 2010
10:21 am

I think she should have performed at another venue if her track record is starting late.

nivlek

August 15th, 2010
10:23 am

Did she do the JFK assassination act? That might have been worth the price of admission.

Mel

August 15th, 2010
10:26 am

I absolutely hate Chastain. Because the audience sits “in the round”, you wind up hearing everyone else’s chatter. I pay to hear music, not conversation. It’s a terrible venue.

OvaQualified

August 15th, 2010
10:27 am

When I say TICKED off…Words can’t even describe how I felt being this my first time at Chastain and not being able to hear my favs from Badu such as “Otherside of the Game”, “Bag Lady” or even “Window Seat”…The show was intense and rocking but sad to say, like the fan said, “Chastain don’t play”…Rock on, E. Badu..just do it at Lakewood next time…:(

E

August 15th, 2010
10:36 am

It was my first Erykah Badu concert. Her vocals and stage presence were great, in my opinion. I was indeed entertained and amazed by her talent. However, I’m never happy when someone–anyone–is not on time. And I could have done without the stroll down memory lane when she put her spin on classic rap songs. I’ve attended Diana Ross and Sting (both at Chastain), along with Smokey Robinson this summer. All were on time. If they can do it, then so can you Badu. Because of the lateness and “old school” cover song fest, I’ll have to give her a “C” at best.

Mark7

August 15th, 2010
10:38 am

Live music in Atlanta regardless of venue is some of the worst I’ve ever heard…and not because of the artists: It’s because of the people who attend these concerts. Well, they don’t treat them as concerts they treat them as events to show off their fine clothes, expensive wine and chit-chat(or openly howl) while the artist tries in vain to perform.

I love live music and while I worked as a photo journalist was able to secure photo pit perspective for many very talented people. They work hard when they play. It’s their heart out there and 99% of the people who attend concerts these days are so damned rude real fans of the MUSIC are left frustrated and angry because of the noise made by the crowd.

No thank you to live music these days. I’ll sacrifice the live music experience in favor of the true music beauty in my own head through a pair of amazing headphones.

s

August 15th, 2010
10:42 am

I’m so glad i didn’t buy her tickets i love her and all but I want the full show.

Anne

August 15th, 2010
10:53 am

Ms. Badu should have been told what the rules were and she should have stuck to those rules. She got paid to entertain people and those who paid a lot of money for those tickets got short changed. I think they should get 50% of their money back. You pay a lot for those tickets, the entertainer should be responsible. I don’t get this attitude….

Tallcarl

August 15th, 2010
10:55 am

This is a little off subject but I once sent a doctor a bill for two hours of my time at forty dollars an hour. He never paid it and I really did not expect him to, but afterward if he was running late he office would call me. I am a professional also. Respect is a street that flows in both directions.

NJinGA

August 15th, 2010
10:59 am

@Mel – I agree. Chastain is a horrible place to go to listen to live music. @Mark7 has it right. People go there to been seen and to chatter over the performers. I’ve had the same problem at other venues. People around you gabbing away during the performace or getting on the phone and screaming ‘Hey Mom can you hear? I am at the James Taylor and Carole King concert! I’ll hold up the phone! Can you hear it? No! Okay Let me do it again! Can you hear it now?”…. Ugh. Very few places to go enjoy good live music in ATL. The crowd just ruins it. And Lakewood – Really? Are you kidding?

rocketmama1

August 15th, 2010
11:03 am

I agree wholeheartedly Mark7!! People are SO rude! They will stand RIGHT in front of you with a performer onstage and carry on a loud conversation so they can hear each other over the artist!!! It’s unbelievable! PLEASE do me a favor people – If you think concerts are venues for having conversations with your friends and talking on your cellphone, please STAY HOME!!!! Let those of us who actually buy the tix for and show up for the experience of actually enjoying the artist’s perormance do so!!!

RHagans

August 15th, 2010
11:03 am

hey tracy, i have some photos from last night. i sent them to ben and tyson. i was looking for you, but i guess that you came in at 9. i think that erykah did this on purpose. she has performed at chastian a few times before and was cut off the last time that she was there. i have to question why the show started at 8 on a saturday instead of 7. 7 to 11 gives erykah time to be ghetto late and still do the whole show, but then again it’s obvious that she probably did not want to do a whole set.

joe

August 15th, 2010
11:15 am

@Elliot…Atlanta prefers you stay OTP 100% of the time.

notafan

August 15th, 2010
11:43 am

Come on Anne – do you really think she didn’t know the rules????

Rodney

August 15th, 2010
11:55 am

Whip her with that window seat and let you cry next to me. lolo

j

August 15th, 2010
11:56 am

Nikki

August 15th, 2010
12:04 pm

Badu is a great artist but Chastain is not for her. Unfortunately, I am amazed when a show starts on time but this is the first time I have been caught out there by the 11pm curfew. I could have skipped Bilal and went straight to Badu and that’s what her camp should have done for this venue. Next week they have 4 artists on the line up in one night and the show starts @ 7pm….you do the math. Curfew should be extended to 12 a.m. Its the weekend and the people in the area knew what they were buying into when they moved over there.

tina

August 15th, 2010
12:08 pm

actually, she is not a weed smoker. she is a health nut, even to the point of eating spirulina and wheat grass and such. but with that said, i would be mad as hell if i paid all that money and the broad had me sitting there waiting. clearly she has no respect for her fans.

TJE

August 15th, 2010
12:16 pm

I was at this SHOW last night and shot out to Bilal (who was on time)..Badu, Badu, Badu what part of 9p do you not understand???? She’s hands down my favorite artist but after last night, not sure if I’ll be paying to see her again. Don’t play with my time and don’t play w/ my money. I sincerly appreciate the stroll down memory lane but if you only had an hour to perform, save that shhhh for an ontime performance. My friends and I were diggin’ this concert til it abruptly came to an END—We were lookin’ like WTF, is this some JOKE. How the heck are you an hour late for a CONCERT??? That’s rude, unprofessional and SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED. Since she performed 1/2 we should be refunded 1/2—-I don’t know her personally but SISTAH don’t stop being humble and taking your fans for granted…Fan are how you continue to get paid….

On a more positive note, I will say the CONCERT for the little time we has was ON FIRE—The girl is bad, raw, real and uncensored….I still love the CHICK but please be on time for your next show—Don’t cheat the next crew like you did me and my girls :-(

Savvy

August 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

This is not a Chastain problem. This is Miss Badu’s issue. Bilal left the stage at 8:45. Badu came on an hour or so later. She was GREAT but oh so late for a venue that is known for their 11 pm cutoff rules to the letter. I’m thinking her true intention was to perform for about 30 minutes anyway as she said ‘good night Atlanta’ shortly after she started, but continued to perform. I won’t even mention no sign of “Bag Lady”, “Tyrone” or “Window Seat”.

kd

August 15th, 2010
12:22 pm

Let’s just put this to bed…there are some artists that, despite their artistic genius or talent, take fans (and their dollars) for granted and devalue a fan’s time! Eryka Badu and Anita Baker are two that fit into this category. I’d heard about Eryka’s outrageous behavior before, which is why she will never see ONE of my dollars. I had to learn the lesson the hard way with Anita — she gets no more either! The best way you can express you appreciation (or disgust) with any artist is to vote with your dollars! With these two artists, JUST DON”T GO TO THE SHOW…..

TJE

August 15th, 2010
12:41 pm

Well said KD and savvy—-Guess I’ll stick to my other girl, Jill “ontime, humble” Scott …Badu needs to realize she ain’t the only artist who can PERFORM. If she didn’t feel bad, it says a lot about her true character—-Oh well, moving on

Andrea

August 15th, 2010
1:07 pm

To tina:
Erykah Badu is a health nut; thats y she definitely partakes of the “holy herb”. What r u talking about, she repeatedly states this in her songs…

Denise

August 15th, 2010
1:42 pm

I have seen many shows at Chastain with opening acts and never had to deal with this. Its because there were opening acts, its because Erykah did not come out and keep you waiting for 1hr. Why turn this into a dislike for Chastian. The get the rules well in advance and she knew. You should be upset that you got played for a lot of money and not alot of soul! Thanks for this article because even though I like her I will never pay to see her now. If this is her attitude toward paying fans I really don’t care how talented you are respect is worth more in my book.

j rev

August 15th, 2010
1:54 pm

Just wondering, but how do you know that she was informed about the ordinance? Do you have people on the inside? Did she tell you herself?

scott

August 15th, 2010
1:59 pm

one of the worst places to have a concert i wouldnt pay a dime to see a concert at chastain simply awful….in ghetto dominated rude a$$ atlanta..what has happen to this once great city…one word..northerners have ruined it!!!!!

Badu Fan

August 15th, 2010
2:16 pm

I love E.Badu music. However, I have heard and seen clips on Youtube where her band sings this song”Its not your show” until she finally comes out. Even they be looking around like where the hell is she!! With all the comments I have read here today and what I already know…I will NOT purchase a ticket to see her. Something I can not tolerate is not being on time. I wonder if people can file a claim with their card provider for not receiving the full service they paid for? Just a thought

tommy

August 15th, 2010
2:18 pm

The only noise ordinance at Chastain should be on the patrons who come to the shows, and chatter incessantly all the way through them. Yes, Erykah was rude and possibly clueless, or just assumed the rules didn’t apply to her, but bottom line is, you could have a gathering at Chastain, provide alcohol, brie, and pipe in recorded music, and 1/3rd of the patrons would never know the difference if an artist never set foot onstage.

The Fox is where artists go to be heard, Chastain is where audience members go to be heard…and seen.

somewhereinga

August 15th, 2010
2:21 pm

Scott: “one word..northerners have ruined it!!!!!” You asked where the other ticket holders were from?

somewhereinga

August 15th, 2010
2:22 pm

Tommy….Amen!

Kevin

August 15th, 2010
2:25 pm

This is not a Chastain issue. I work at Lakewood and everyone knows that at 11:01 the plug gets pulled, regardless of the act. It is a city/county noise ordinance that requires the sound to be shut off at 11PM. I believe that the same rules are in place up at Verizon in Alpharetta. If you want to play past 11pm, you have to play indoors.

MommieDearest

August 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

@j rev

Anybody who performs at Chastain knows the rules. They are given before-hand. It is the business of the artist and his/her manager to know the rules for the venue. Plus, Erykah Badu has played at Chastain before. And she has been cut off before. She knew.

deb

August 15th, 2010
2:35 pm

Miss Diva a%$ Badu will never get my money. I don’t give a s&*^ how good she is. If she don’t respect her fans time why should I pay to see her in concert. She’s late all the time and I’m pretty sure she had no intentions of performing on time. As other posts said, her mamagement was very aware of the rules when they booked the venue so don’t blame it on Chastain. I’ve been to many concerts at Chastain and the artists started on time and was done performing on time.

Chastain is a decent park and everybody who’s been there or haven’t been there have heard the rules too. Why should they change their rules just because Miss Diva couldn’t get on stage on time? If you all don’t like the park, then don’t attend any more of the venues. RULES ARE RULES.

LoveLiveMusid

August 15th, 2010
2:37 pm

Chastain is a notoriously poor event for the music lover. The crowd is filled with people who just will not shut up and the music cannot be louder than 83 decibels. Verizon Amphitheatre and Lakewood are much better. The music is much, much louder which stops all the chit chat. @Kevin, I believe you are mistaken. All the past concerts that I have seen at Lakewood have gone past 11 PM.

Old Music Fan

August 15th, 2010
2:44 pm

In July, we went to see Ringo and his All Starr Band at Chastain. They started on time and played for a solid non-stop 2 hours plus at a high energy level. This was 2 days after Ringo turned 70 and had played in NYC. A true musical icon and an entertainment professional who was well received, even worshipped by the crowd. A different crowd than last night at Chastain nevertheless. But still an indication of how a concert can be made to work at Chastain if the headliner really wants it to happen.

POAD

August 15th, 2010
2:44 pm

Chastain is like dinner theater. I grew-up playing sports at Chastain and living in the neighborhood. The People that live around the park pay a lot of money for their homes and should be able to sleep in peace and quite. It still takes over an hour after the conceert to get the people out of the neighborhood. People go to Chastain to eat and enjoy good music. Yes, they chat and enjoy time with their friends, If you want to go to a rock show with punks screaming, puking, and smoking dope then please feel free to chose another location to go to the show. Chastain is not the FOX. Chastain is a fun night with friends, food, and wine at a show. It is like having the stereo on playing great music and having fun. If you don’t understand the concept, then go watch the Big Chill when they are making dinner and singing and dancing. If concerts at Phillips or the Fox are not places to be seen then why do people dress the way they do and act the way they act? I have never been to a concert anywhere that people don’t talk, screem, or sing along. From now on No noise will be made at any concert. People will sit in their seats and not make a noise until the song is over then they may OPREA CLAP between songs. Keep your money and your butt away from Chastain if you hate it so much.

Read before you sign...

August 15th, 2010
2:45 pm

If Ms. Badu did not have a clue about the curfew, whoever signed the venue’s contract would certainly be at fault.

Pay ME, and I’ll make sure that Ms. Badu is aware of the time… And for a lil’ extra, I’ll get her a Flava Flav clock to wear around her neck!