There’s nothing like a room full of screaming teenagers to remind you of your place in the generational chain. (See photos)
CenterStage in Midtown Atlanta was full of exactly that Wednesday night when Chris Brown brought his “Fan Appreciation” tour to Atlanta. Apparently, die-hard fans included tweens, teens, some college kids and a few adult chaperones (we even caught a few in the under-5 set).
The audience crowded the open floor early to position themselves in phone-cam range. Reps fed the frenzy with a callout to text a special number with the songs they wanted to hear. The abandoned coats and bags in many of the stationary seats completed the school pep rally feel – and made assigned tickets worthless.
But let’s be honest, as a friend reminded me, “This is their night.” The over-25 crowd may not be Brown’s target demo, but I’m not so far removed that I don’t remember the first tastes of freedom. Being dropped off and later picked up by my parents at the mall, a pre-screened party or concert, getting a few hours of independence and samples of the PG “nightlife.”
While there was a chilly drizzle outside, Brown brought the heat as soon as he hit the stage. He and his male backup dancers emerged as fashionable biker boys – clean-cut laced with street edge. Dressed in all black, leather gloves (which Chris tossed into the fevered audience), head gear and laser beam eye effects, I fully expected to see motorcycles rev on stage had it been big enough. But I just didn’t get the oversized rabbit’s foot (which reminded me of the recent Louis Vuitton Spring collection).
The shadowy scene erupted – as did the screams – as they went full throttle into a high-energy dance set. For the most part, Brown focused more on dancing and showmanship than vocals (though he did get cozy with the mic with some songs, including hits from his self-titled debut CD in 2005).
Without question, Brown’s athleticism and boyish charm are his greatest assets, especially as the Rihanna controversy still plagues the Virginia native. As long as his target demo is more concerned with his electric smile and dancing prowess, Brown will slowly but surely overcome his tarnished reputation.