Kelly Rowland concert review

By Melisa Tang

SpooksCarling Hammersmith Apollo - 21st September 2003

It’s not often that you get to see a member of one of the world’s most successful female groups live in your hometown. So, as a huge Destiny’s Child fan, you can imagine how excited I was to see Kelly Rowland in London performing material from her debut solo album ‘Simply Deep.’

The auditorium was packed and the crowd was quite varied, with ages ranging from five to fifty. It was quite obvious that the younger fans were also Destiny’s followers, whereas the elder members of the crowd were here to see Kelly Rowland: the solo artist.

Supporting the Texan beauty were some of the UK’s finest less-known artists, such as new rapper Motley, who performed tracks including ‘Get Money’ and ‘Reminisce’, and R&B singer Sean Emmanuel, the UK’s answer to Mario, who brought on-stage female emcee Estelle, to perform ‘Shake That Thing.’ The audience was then treated to an enjoyable set by Solange Knowles, Beyoncé’s younger sibling, who oozed style and confidence as she sang ‘Wonderland’, ‘Just Like You’, ‘This Could Be Love’, and ‘Feelin’ You’ from her debut album ‘Solo Star.’

Although the support acts had kept the crowd entertained, when it was time for the main attraction, the audience, particularly the younger members, could not contain their excitement. Dressed in a sleek gold top and hotpants, Kelly Rowland looked stunning as she appeared on stage perched on a white sofa at the top of a short flight of stairs. After taking a moment to appreciate the love the fans were showing her, Kelly launched into her album’s title track, ‘Simply Deep’, following this up with the upbeat ‘Love/Hate’, her top ten single ‘Can’t Nobody’, and a brief rendition of ‘Dilemma’, her No.1 duet with St. Louis rapper Nelly.

Slowing down the tempo for a bit, Kelly sang her heart out on ballads such as ‘(Love Lives In) Strange Places’, ‘Every time You Walk Out That Door’, and her latest release ‘Train On The Track’, proving that Beyoncé is not the only DC member with a magnificent voice. As if to remind the audience of her DC days, Kelly performed the Bee Gees’ cover ‘Emotion’, blending it into ‘How Deep Is You Love’, on which she was joined by her three back-up singers. A quick costume change later and Miss Rowland was singing the chorus of ‘Bootylicious’, shaking her booty like no other before reverting back to her solo material, bringing the night to an end with the catchy ‘Make U Wanna Stay’, ‘Beyond Imagination’, and the moving hit single ‘Stole’. The whole audience was on their feet, cheering and applauding her, as Kelly thanked her band, her back-up singers and her four delectable male dancers. Unable to resist one more song, Kelly did an energetic performance of ‘Past 12’, a party track which suited the mood and atmosphere in the venue at that precise moment.

Even though the Hammersmith Apollo was smaller than other venues this girl is probably used to, Kelly had given it her all, and it had certainly paid off. Everyone left the auditorium buzzing with delight, and even I was surprised at how this once shy teenager had blossomed into a strong, confident young woman. With her UK tour, Kelly had shown herself to be an artist with undeniable stage presence that’s also able to hold her own when it matters most - a feat that is becoming increasingly rare these days, and one that she should be proud of.


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