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First night: Alicia Keys

Oh, Alicia. There really was no need to try so hard, you know.

Sure, it's always nice to watch a performer add a little theatrical twist to proceedings, but why attempt to be something you're not, eh? I mean, we all know you're pretty much a superstar as it is.

Oh Alicia, Alicia. Get out of the cage, for Christ's sake -- you're not bloody Shakira. And, to be honest, we're quite thankful for that, too.

Seriously, who else can park their bootie in front of a piano and deliver such heart-wrenchingly powerful and undeniably slick R&B the way you do?

Oh no. Now you've gone all Dylan on us. You just had to mess with the arrangement to Fallin' didn't you? As cracking debut singles go, it's pretty much up there with the best of them, so why not sing it the way we remember it?

amazing

Hmmm ... this isn't what I expected at all, at all. Fair enough, you do sound amazing in the flesh and, I have to say, you're looking very well in that tight black outfit (call the paper, they'll give you my number), but what's with all the preachy 'freedom' crap?

We get it -- you're a 'renegade'. Your latest album is called The Element Of Freedom. You're a 'truth seeker'. Nothing is impossible. Love is special. Blah, blah (pass the sick bucket), blah.

These people didn't pay for the lessons in life (and I can guarantee those images of Princess Diana and Gandhi won't have any effect either), so do us all a favour and ditch the script, yeah?

We've seen what you can do when you're on form, so c'mon, work that stage like the gifted 29-year-old New Yorker we all came to see.

challenging

Wait. Hold on just a second. Is that a keytar in your hands? Are you challenging your guitarist to ... a 'rock off'? I like this. I like it a lot.

Ah yes, now that's a fine grand piano you have there -- can you sing If I Ain't Got You for us? Brilliant. What about Put It In A Love Song? Ah, now we're talking. This is good.

This is a classy, sexy, and naturally gifted performer at her very best; no bells, no whistles, and no cages -- just pure, effortless talent.

So what was that first half all about then? Why weren't we on our feet the whole time instead of waiting for No One and Empire State Of Mind?

And were you really trying to convince us that you and Beyonce are one and the same? You're not, but again, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

cringe

Oh, Alicia. If only you hadn't spent so long dishing out a feast of needless fillers (we could have done without the Bond theme) and all that cringe-inducing banter.

I suppose we should be grateful that you managed to turn things around but, for now, finish the tour, tighten a few screws, remember who you are, and we'll see you next time.

Oh, and I'm serious about that number ...


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