R&B singer Usher included a tribute to deceased celebrities during his headlining set Saturday (May 18) at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine, California, which also included performances from Nas and Faith Evans.
Before closing his show, Usher said he wanted to sing a song for all of the people who have “come and gone and paved the way.” He sang Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” as a big screen monitor scrolled the names of Kurt Cobain, Eazy-E, Tupac Shakur, the Notorious B.I.G., George Harrison, Aaliyah, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.
The 90-minute set included theatrical, well-choreographed, and sometimes risque performances of his staple hits “Nice & Slow,” “My Way,” “You Make Me Wanna,” “U Remind Me,” and the P. Diddy collaboration “I Need A Girl.”
After apologizing because he was about to get a “little freaky,” Usher performed “I Need A Girl,” and pulled a woman from the audience on stage, offering her a present (lingerie, thong, and condom), an Usher T-shirt, and his chain and medallion. “U Got It Bad” featured impressive robotic dance moves, and Usher added excitement during a Michael Jackson-influenced segment that sent the charismatic singer on a scavenger hunt for rhinestone-laced shoes, jacket, and glasses.
Nas hyped the crowd during his run, skimming through his classics, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell,” “If I Ruled The World,” “You Owe Me,” “Hate Me Now,” and “Oochie Wally.” When performing “K-I-S-S-I-N-G,” he used the R. Kelly music bed he previously swapped for a Sade track. And while Nas verbally attacked Kelly in March when he performed his anti-Jay-Z record “Ether” in Los Angeles, the Queensbride artist refrained from mentioning Kelly this time. He wrapped his performance with a heartfelt rendition of “One Mic,” his current single.
R&B siren Faith Evans opened the night in a Lakers jersey and jeans, performing selections from her catalog, including “You Gets No Love,” “I Love You,” and “Burnin’ Up,” her new release.