Concert Review: Mariah Carey - "Merry Christmas One and All!" @ Madison Square Garden, NYC

Concert Review: Mariah Carey - "Merry Christmas One and All!" @ Madison Square Garden, NYC

🎄For Christmas 2023, I had the privilege of attending Mariah Carey’s 'Merry Christmas One and All' concert at Madison Square Garden, a stop on her biggest Christmas tour to date. The spectacle was a testament to the growing legacy of 'All I Want for Christmas Is You', a song that continues to gain popularity each year.

🎤 The majority of the show was a festive mix of Christmas classics and Mariah's originals. Her renditions of songs like 'Joy to the World' and 'Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)' have become definitive, blending seamlessly with her own musical identity.

🌟 On stage, Mariah's charisma was palpable. Her engaging banter added spontaneity to the meticulously planned production. Despite her stunning dresses slightly restricting movement, the stage was always alive with activity. The dancers, band, choir, and even her kids all contributed to a dynamic and visually captivating experience.

🎵 Vocally, Mariah showcased her enduring talent. While her voice was strong and stable for the most part, the reliance on pre-recorded vocals for the more challenging parts was quite obvious and a bit distracting. However, given the vocal complexity of her songs, this was somewhat expected.

🌟 A special highlight of the concert was the surprise appearance of Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson for the first-ever live performance of 'Oh! Santa'. This collaboration was a standout moment, bringing an electric energy to the arena. Their combined vocals and stage presence with Mariah created a memorable and exhilarating performance, marking a unique highlight of the tour.

🎉 In conclusion, 'Merry Christmas One and All' was more than just a concert; it was a festive journey and a celebration of Mariah Carey's enduring influence as the Queen of Christmas. The blend of iconic Christmas songs, Mariah's own classics, and personal touches created an experience that transcended a typical holiday show. Mariah's live presence, combined with the festive atmosphere and special collaborations, ensured every moment was filled with holiday cheer."

Setlist: 

  1. Sugar Plum Fairy
  2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)
  3. Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
  4. When Christmas Comes
  5. Sleigh Ride
  6. Here Comes Santa Calus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
  7. Christmas Wrapping
  8. Silent Night
  9. Jesus Born on This DAy
  10. One Child
  11. Joy to the World
  12. Christmas Time is in the Air Again
  13. Oh Santa! (with Ariana Grande & Jennifer Hudson)
  14. 2023 MC Hit List:
    1. Always Be My Baby
    2. Dreamlover
    3. Honey
    4. Heartbreaker
    5. A No No
    6. Emotions
    7. Make It Happen
    8. Fly Like A Bird
  15. We Belong Together
  16. Hero
  17. All I Want For Christmas Is You
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On April 19th, Webster Hall was filled with “FLO Lifers” eagerly awaiting the UK girl group FLO who are currently embarking on their “FLO Live” tour. Formed 2019, FLO consists of Jorja Douglas, Renee Downer, & Stella Quaresma. The group’s style distinctly derives from R&B and Hip-Hop from the 1990’s and early 2000s. For a more in-depth analysis FLO’s sound and trajectory watch here (https://youtu.be/i18hpBoW4EU)/ <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/i18hpBoW4EU" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Before FLO took the stage, Samaria, an Oakland R&B singer, opened the show. Samaria started with a simple backdrop featuring her name, keys, and drums. The audience seemed familiar with her music and if they were not, they were supportive and living in the moment. Samaria interacted with the audience well and related to them on the basis of terrible ex's and a journey through a toxic relationship. Samaria’s songs had interesting cadences, but what was  missing for us was backing vocals on the track to delineate verses from choruses. After doing some research we found that the “Out of the Way” singer has a sound also inspired by 00s R&B, with a some tracks tracks full of fun guitar licks and drum patterns reminiscent of Timbaland, but none of those instruments were present in her performance. Her backline consisted of a keyboardist and a drummer. Although Samaria sounded good, at times the keyboard’s volume was overpowering.  She worked the stage, nonetheless and  good job. 7.5 out of 10 ! ()SCORE

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/CVI-FMictlA" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen></iframe>

https://www.instagram.com/samaria/?hl=en

samaria.lnk.to/shadyhills

Okland R&B Singer, Samaria as the opening act for FLO's tour "FLO Live." Samaria on stage singing with her band.Oakland R&B singer, Samaria performing on stage at Webster Hall as the opening act for FLO (Jorja, Renee and Stella) for their sold out "FLO Live" tour.

Next up was the much-anticipated FLO, and the girls opened with "Not My Job." They were all dressed in black with cute cutouts, and their outfits were shimmery (I love sparkle!) which was a welcome change from their wardrobe at the MOBO awards. Their faces were beat (we love a “natural glam”),

their vocals were tight, and their choreography was utilized well to highlight grooves. The chemistry between the girls was undeniable, and their vocal blend was seamless— absolutely chill-inducing. Jorja's thick vocal tone took the songs to a soulful place, and Stella's airy delivery allowed her to float at the top of the group's harmonies. Renee's smooth, warm alto voice added a coolness to their sound and gained a lot more stability in live singing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention FLO’s band! The band consisted of some past schoolmates, which added another layer of charm to the whole set!

The absolute highlight of the show was "Losing You” In this live arrangement, the girls emoted and connected with the audience on a deeper level. Chris loved harmonized adlibs, brand new bridge and extra outdo including a guitar solo.  As a special treat, FLO performed a cover of Jamelia's version of "Superstar" by Christine Militon.  Even though a majority of the NYC crowd had no clue who Jamelia was and didn't know the song, the girls did teach the chorus before singing the song, so some fans were able to follow along. Chris and I certainly knew the song and even received compliments on synchronized impromptu choreography.

Speaking of choreo…

The girls' choreography was something we were curious to see, and they did not disappoint. They danced well, and they were given grooves as opposed to sharp movements that really complemented each member's personal style. In terms of technique, they aren’t K-pop idols so we weren’t expecting crazy formations and “point dances,” but you can tell they put in the work to provide another layer of entrainment to the experience. There was even some chair-ography for their performance of "Change," a new track about a lover's inability to "do the work" necessary to improve the condition of the relationship.

The girls did perform their latest single, "Fly Girl" ft Missy Elliot, and although Missy Elliot was present in the audience, she did not join the performance.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/flolikethis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@flolikethis</a> big up to Flo out here in the states on the road working hard! Keep doing yall thizzzzle!!!🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flygirl?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Flygirl</a>💇🏾‍♀️💃🏾💅🏾 <a href="https://t.co/Qtgr2f2KBl">pic.twitter.com/Qtgr2f2KBl</a></p>&mdash; Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) <a href="https://twitter.com/MissyElliott/status/1649101483621728272?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 20, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Fans (the FLO Lifers) were absolutely living their best lives! They knew all the words to FLO’s songs—the BGV's and the ad-libs. It was a room full of genuine love and screams! FLO closed the night with their debut single, "Cardboard Box," and this performance featured a heavenly bridge section.

Overall, the show was good, and for this to be the group's first headlining tour, we were impressed with the girls’ improvement from performances like the MOBO Awards, where nerves played a noticeable factor. FLO is worth the hype for sure, and we cannot wait to see the new era of girl groups being led by FLO. For their NYC debut, we rate them a 9 out of 10! FLO Lifers left Webster Hall with unforgettable memories and high expectations for FLO's future performances.