Janelle Monae

Photos and Review by Jennie Book

Janelle Monáe is a force to be reckoned with — a singer, an actress, and as her performance at the Bill Graham Civic in San Francisco on October 17th showed, an amazing live performer. Monáe knows the art of a grand entrance, emerging in silhouette, descending a flower-covered staircase, dressed head to toe in florals. And then as the crowd went totally bonkers she, her dancers, her backing band, and her three live horn players got right into it with hits like “Champagne Shit,” “Phenomenal,” and “Haute” from her latest album, The Age of Pleasure.

The concert spanned nearly two hours and covered a 22-song set filled with new tracks and older favorites (“Make Me Feel,” “Electric Lady”), with Monae and her dancers working hard the entire time. Her fans loved it, with everyone in the diverse crowd represented, and with the overall vibe feeling like a comfortable space of total inclusion, Monae’s message of love above all else was received loud and clear.

Throughout the night, Monáe actively engaged with her fans, inviting some onstage to dance during “Paid to Pleasure,” and other highlights included a tribute to Michael Jackson with a spirited version of “Make Me Feel, plus a crowd-pleasing “Tightrope,” and “Come Alive.”

The Age of Pleasure tour is a magnum opus from a performer who can do it all, and who has thankfully chosen to share her gifts with the world. And even though the tour wrapped in Los Angeles the night after the San Francisco show, keep your eyes peeled for new dates and news at www.jmonae.com.