Mary J. Blige Rocks the Crowd at the Toyota Center

The audience went back and forth, singing the last verse to “Not Gon’ Cry”, the breakout single from Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. Mary J. Blige leaned across the stage cheering the crowd and belting out the final notes. She cries as she looks at the audience who start cheering in support.

“These are happy tears,” she exclaimed as she wiped her eyes. These are tears because I’m single. I’m happy. I’m free now. I like.”

As he ran, he began to sing the last word of each sentence, eventually standing in the middle of the stage and letting out a loud scream. As the packed house continued their thunderous applause he began repeatedly pointing to the floor, shouting “I’m fine” and “nothing more than this,” before crouching near the edge of the stage.

“And what is it?” he asked the audience as he stopped at the edge of the stage

Immediately the big band intro to “I’m Goin’ Down” blasted through the speakers sending the crowd into a frenzy. Entering the chorus, Blige held the microphone to the audience as the packed house sang along.

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Ella Mai helps open the show with Queen Naija.

Photo by Robyn Tuazon

Mary J Blige’s Good Morning Gorgeous Tour came through the Toyota Center Saturday night bringing the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, Ella Mai, and Queen Naija to Houston. The tour, presented by Hologic and the Black Promoters Collective, celebrates the release of Blige’s fourteenth studio album of the same name.

While the lead single is an ode to self-empowerment and reflection, it also became a theme for her and Hologic’s “Her Health is Her Wealth” initiative focused on getting more women to prioritize prescreening for cancer and yearly visits to doctors. It’s not just lip service for Blige who talks about the initiative several times during the show but even has a commercial during one of the outfit changes, informing the audience exactly what services are offered.

Blige has a catalog that spans 30 years, and she easily went through it, giving fans classics as well as songs from the new album making sure everyone was entertained. Generations danced together as groups made up of daughters, mothers, and grandmothers took Blige back and forth.

“What does he know about this song?” said a mother pointing her son back and forth while closing her eyes while singing to herself.

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Blige moves easily between ballads and high-energy hits.

Photo by Robyn Tuazon

Blige controlled the crowd all night by flipping from club hits to slow ballads while rocking her signature dance moves. Chants of “Go Mary” filled the stadium as she crossed the stage. For Ketta Washington, Kenya Thomas, Umeki Hines, and Nikki Caines the experience is not to be missed. The group put the whole show together and, when it was over, couldn’t decide on a favorite part of the night.

“Everything was great, and he did amazing,” Ketta said, laughing. “We’ve been to almost all of his shows and it’s hard to pick one. We went for Mary.”

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