En Vogue: Still Funky
En Vogue was one of the biggest girl groups of the 1990s and probably the most missed R&B group in history. The group had platinum success with 1990’s "Born To Sing" and 1992’s "Funky Divas<." The group was unstoppable, but after their #2 Billboard Hot 100 hit in 1997 with the rock n’ soul "Don’t Let Go (Love)", Dawn Robinson left the group. En Vogue continued but without the original line-up, something was missing.
A failed reunion took place in 2005, but as of June 2008, Dawn Robinson officially said she has reunited with En Vogue. Robinson will tour with the group, releasing an album in mid-2009 and a reality show is in the works. Let’s hope Miss Dawn doesn’t bail again -- don’t let go Dawn!
This past Saturday the R&B quartet performed at B.B. King Blues Club to a sold out crowd. Unfortunately, no Dawn Robinson, supposedly she will not join the tour till September. Still, these ladies are consummate professionals and with the addition of Rhona Bennett, En Vogue put on a spectacular performance.
All three of the original group members, who are celebrating nineteen years in the music business next year, are in their early forties and didn’t look a millisecond over 25. I was so taken a back by how well-preserved the funky divas looked, I had to squeeze my way to the front to get a good look and they were even more striking up-close.
To make matters even better, vocally, the women were outstanding. Their harmonies were perfection, which is what they were known for. These ladies still have it.
The women took us on a ride back to the nineties with classics like "My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)", "Free Your Mind", "Giving Him Something He Can Feel", and their biggest hit, "Don’t Let Go (Love)". The crowd knew every word, at times making Terry Ellis emotional. During her dynamic a capella intro to "Hold On", Terry stopped in between lines, wrapped herself in her arms, and just stared into the crowd. The enthusiastic audience wailed in a frenzy as Ellis proceeded to annihilate the unforgettable R&B classic.
What was also striking about En Vogue’s performance was the incredible diversity in the crowd. Black, white, Latin, gay, straight, young, older, En Vogue truly transcended every category. When they sang the liberal anthem "Free Your Mind", the women dedicated it to the 2008 Presidential election, giving their support to Obama but adding, "Maybe McCain will free his mind at some point!" The diverse crowd hollered along with "Free Your Mind", pumping their fists in the air.
En Vogue was a true group. Four part harmonies and there was never a lead. Unlike many groups of their time and even today, they interpreted classic songs that stand the test of time. The anticipation for the group as a whole to unite is palatable. Before the show started, all you could hear in the crowd was, "Is Dawn gonna be there? I heard they reunited! I hope Dawn is there!" It’s less about Dawn, but more about the unit, one member gone, regardless of who it is, takes away from this group that was a true ensemble.
by En Vogue