by Olivia J. B. Baxter
The show started with Gray’s band serenading the crowd with an upbeat jazz-soul fusion jam. Once the audience was on the edge of their seats in excitement, Gray took to the stage and jumped right into her set. She performed songs from her new album, Ruby, as well as songs from her decade-long catalog.
The room was never silent. Between the cheers and accolades of appreciation being shouted for her talent and performance from the audience, fans singing along in harmony with her every song, and each band member rolling songs to a roaring start and end with respected solos, the energy was high, the mood was joyous, and the vibe was chill.
Gray’s songs were a thrilling fusion of jazz, soul, and indie-rock— the show satisfied the diverse palate of musical tastes and satiated the rooms hunger for entertainment. The venue itself is a sit-down establishment specializing in house wines on tap and an accessible menu of victuals for every budget. The intimate environment allowed people to indulge in a glass or bottle of wine, nosh on some delicious eats, and interact with Macy throughout the evening.
Half-way through the set, Gray paused to take a moment to introduce herself to the audience and ask everyone to shout their name so she could get to know who she was performing for and sharing space with. While this was a performance with a nationally known legendary performer, in many ways it resembled nights I’ve had at one of Philly’s many small local venues with any one of our many local bands—the close proximity of stage and audience, the casual lounge-like atmosphere where people could eat, drink and respectfully interact with friends and strangers while engaged with Gray and the show.
It was clear Gray encourages that form of atmosphere. Between songs she would take time to speak with us. As she introduced her song “Buddha” off her latest album, she asked everyone to close their eyes and be present with her, in that moment.
She continued to engage with the audience who was fully present and engaged with her.
“It’s a Sunday night and while other people are home, tucking their children in bed or reading a book… you ‘Wild One’s’ are here, with us. Singing and dancing and having a good time.” Gray dedicated several moments throughout her performance to expressing gratitude for our presence and share messages that encouraged unity, love, peace, and joy.
This show endorsed and embodied just that– people embracing this moment– being present and expressing and sharing in love, unity and joy while they danced, sang, and hung with the queen ‘Wild One’, Macy Gray.