Front Row at Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys
Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL

Alicia Keys AllstateGuess who got to sit in Jennifer Hudson’s front row seat on Saturday night at the Alicia Keys concert?! That’s right, ME!!! Apparently, Ms. Hudson (along with her boyfriend and assistant) left their seats right before Ms. Keys hit the stage. Not sure where they went or why they would leave such great seats, but they did. And it worked out better for me because I got to take her spot since she wasn’t coming back! Needless to say, I was ecstatic about my free upgrade to replace an Oscar winning actress, only to watch a multiple Grammy winning singer/songwriter/pianist perform an AMAZING show.

Alicia Keys AllstateThis was my first Alicia Keys concert and I had no idea what to expect. I only own her latest album, As I Am, because I am completely and utterly OBSSESSED with the lead single, No One. Seriously, it’s not healthy how much I love that song. But I actually first fell in love with Alicia Keys when her first hit ever, Fallin’, hit the radio. I have played piano piano my whole life and am classically trained, just like Ms. Keys. I thought it was so cool that a young girl who plays piano and has the same training as me, was writing songs like Fallin’ and proving that girls can play instruments and write songs and sing – all at the same time – just as well as any guy or band out there. Girl power all the way man! It was so refreshing to hear Alicia Keys enter onto the music scene in the midst of acts like Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, Backstreet Boys and ‘Nsync. All of which didn’t write their own songs not play any instruments. Half of them couldn’t even really sing.

Alicia can dance, play the piano (and any other type of keyboard/synthesizer), sing, act, and entertain! She is a true performer in all senses. I was so impressed with her voice! I mean, I knew she can play the piano like no other (well, I still hold Tori Amos above Alicia), but I had NO IDEA she could belt and hit such high notes – let alone hold those notes out for so long! She was singing her heart out just like my favorite female singers – Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Ms. Keys was on fire! And she was sitting down at the piano most of the time she was singing, which constricts the diaphragm and makes singing/breathing more difficult. I would have to stand up to sing like her, but somehow she pulled it off. So amazing, she is.

Alicia Keys AllstateI didn’t get a chance to grab a set list. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if Alicia Keys and her band do not even use or need a set list. But from what I can remember, here are most of the songs from the night, in no particular order:

How Come You Don’t Call Me
No One
Like You’ll Never See Me Again
Prelude To A Kiss
Wreckless Love
My Boo
Sure Looks Good To Me
The Thing About Love
I Need You
Teenage Love Affair
A Woman’s Worth
Go Ahead
You Don’t Know My Name
If I Ain’t Got You – last song of the show and dedicated to the fans!

To my surprise (and disappointment), Alicia didn’t play Lesson Learned, which I was kinda looking forward to hearing. Teenage Love Affair, Like You’ll Never See Me Again and Lesson Learned have all been the chosen ringback tones on my friend Ebony’s cell phone since the album came out in November! So it was nice to hear the whole version of the songs versus the 30-second clips I am used to hearing when I am waiting for Ebony to answer her phone. Side note: You would think that because I was in the FRONT ROW I would have awesome up close and personal photos of Alicia. Well, that is what I thought too. But this chick did NOT stop moving long enough for me to get a great picture of her face when she was three feet in front of me! I am not kidding – she doesn’t stop dancing around when not playing the piano. Watching her fingers run up and down the black and white keys that I love and cherish inspired me to start playing my keyboard more. I am rusty from not playing on my old upright YAMAHA back at my mom’s house, so I need to kick it up a notch to be able to bust out my Fallin’ sheet music. Especially since Ms. Keys plays a YAMAHA piano too! I cannot wait until the next time I get to see Alicia live in concert. Make sure you see her at a city near you on her As I Am Tour!

Click on thumbnails to enlarge images: