A few hours after the Mary Mary ‘Go Get It’ tour at Atlanta Symphony Hall Friday night I was still singing and dancing around the house. That should tell you just how good it was.
It was a fulfilling concert in more ways than one. It was a lot of music packed into just under three hours and a lot of ministry through music. It was pure church from the time opening acts VaShawn Mitchell and Isaac Carree stepped onto the stage until the time Mary Mary (Erica and Tina Campbell) closed out with their song “God in Me,” off the “Go Get It” CD released earlier this year.
I must admit, I expected a high drama performance, perhaps lots of wardrobe changes and more talking than singing. Waiting for the show to start Friday night a video showed scenes from the premiere of the “Mary Mary” reality television show, in its second season on WE, premiering Dec. 6. But there was only one wardrobe change and the only drama in this sister duo’s performance was the power from Tina’s voice or the seemingly endless 25 seconds Erica held a note while performing “Yesterday” from the 2005 “Mary Mary” CD.
Atlanta was the second stop on the “Go Get It” 10-city tour. Mary Mary kicked off the tour Thursday night in Jacksonville. Next up, the sisters head to South Carolina this weekend with stops in Charleston and Columbia. The tour wraps up Nov. 17 in Richmond, Va.
When Friday night’s show started I felt a little like I was in a high school performance auditorium. Neither Mitchell nor Carree put on flashy performances as opening acts. But they were energetic. And no matter how many times I see Carree I never get tired of his performance of his hit “In the Middle of It,” from his “Uncommon Me “CD released in 2011. It was one of only three songs Carree sang Friday. Mitchell sang four of his popular hits including “Nobody Greater.”
Carree mentioned he’d been nominated Friday for five Stellar Gospel Music Awards.
Though the awards were not mentioned during Mary Mary’s performance, their appearance was also fresh off an announcement earlier in the day that they’d received nine Stellar Gospel Music Award nominations, including Group/Duo of the Year and Song of the Year. It may not have been mentioned but it was felt through the intensity of their performance. They performed with a realness and genuineness, as though leading a church choir.
The show was in Atlanta Symphony Hall but the duo did not perform with the symphony, instead they had their own band. Mary Mary entered the two-level stage Friday with “Get Up,” off their 2008 CD “The Sound,” showing off slimmer figures in superstar fashion. Erica wore a black leather accessorized jacket with black slacks. Tina opted for leggings covered by a red sweater jacket and a big slimming gold belt. And can you say hair? Lots of it. It was a Chaka Khan-Diana Ross sort of hairstyle night for the gospel duo.
Introducing themselves to the audience, Tina reminded everyone that their names aren’t Mary. The duo’s name is actually said to be inspired by the two famous Marys from the Bible; Mary the mother of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdelene.
The sister duo opens their “Go Get It” tour with a short video skit that basically teases and mocks them for being pregnant during earlier concert tours. The show also included a video about a woman escaping domestic violence. Then there’s a pause halfway through the concert where the duo makes a pitch to the audience to make financial commitments to Child Fund International. Thankfully neither the video nor pause for the cause are much of a distraction during the performance.
What’s striking throughout the show is the power behind their voices — loud, strong and rich, even after coming off a Thursday performance. Also striking is the duo’s ability to minister to and inspire the crowd. They talk about growing up in church and their love for God and encouraged the audience to seek that relationship if they didn’t already have it.
The show is essentially split into two with the second show a little hype and gospel music you can dance to with some synchronized moves by the duo. Even their wardrobe in the second half consists of jeans and sneakers.
Some of the other songs in Friday’s “Go Get It” lineup from Mary Mary included “Walking,” “I Love Him Like I Do” (performed with Carree), “Heaven,” “Little Girl,” “Dirt,” “Yesterday,” “Can’t Give Up Now,” “Shackles” and “Believer.”