Dallas For her 42nd birthday, the woman born Erica Wright thought it better to give than receive.
A little before 10:45 p.m., Erykah Badu strolled onto the Granada Theater stage to the roar of the sold-out crowd. Her hair clad in a sky-high wrap and dressed casually in a top and jeans, the neo-soul queen launched into Rimshot (Intro) from her 1996 debut Baduizm. It was a true present for those in attendance: Badu has been performing occasional shows, mostly along the East Coast, where she recreates her Grammy-winning debut in its entirety and Tuesday night, Dallas got a flawless, spirited showcase of the whole LP.
Despite nearly two decades passing, Baduizm hasn't aged a day. Now-classics like On & On and Otherside of the Game felt vivid and immediate, thanks in part to Badu's fiery vocal performance (her take on Otherside was all but show-stopping Tuesday) and the deft musical talent behind her -- Tuesday's backing band appeared to be a hybrid of the Gritz and the Cannibinoids.
The crowd, already in a festive mood, swayed along in unison, creating a hypnotic, undulating effect as Badu often seemed to be moving in similar fashion. The audience belted back every single lyric from the record, and Badu, a faint smile on her face, often backed away from the microphone to let the masses take over. Apart from the purple and green balloons scattered about the room and a brief happy birthday message projected on stage, it could have been any other night, albeit one grounded in an earthy, funky sound birthed right here in North Texas.
Not that Badu was about to let anyone forget the reason for the night: "It's my [expletive] birthday!" she crowed after wrapping Baduizm's final track. After a moment to soak up the love, she turned to the musicians assembled behind her, began fiddling with the sampler beside her, and the music began again. Tuesday night gave way to early Wednesday morning, and Erykah Badu just kept on giving, performing the music that's endeared her to Dallas and the world.