Man, does JoJo know how to start a party, or what?
Appropriately named, JoJo showed the Cone Denim Entertainment Center mad love at the midway point of her “Mad Love Tour” Thursday night. She emerged to a crowd that lined the streets in the afternoon, hours before doors opened, as if they’d been waiting 10 years to see the former, renowned teen vocalist. However, that’s precisely the situation that the JoJo faithful have been yearning for.
At six years old, JoJo was offered a record deal, but her mother turned it down because she believed JoJo was too young for a music career. The singer/songwriter evidently possessed star quality from a young age and proved it with the singles “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little Too Late,” which broke the record for the biggest jump into the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, moving from number 66 to number three in one week. Complications with record labels stalled future album releases, but JoJo returned in 2016 with Mad Love, her third full-length installment, that quenched the decade long anticipation that developed in the absence.
Meanwhile, in Greensboro, the CDC’s social media account revealed that a limited amount of tickets remained hours before commencement, but “limited” must’ve meant four or five. Fans, decked in traditional concert-going-dress, holding LED signs reading “Queen,” packed the narrow music hall from elegantly painted wall-to-wall.
JoJo ended anticipation right on time, but not before toying with the crowd’s emotions. While her full band established the stimulating vibe for the night, JoJo playful asked: “Are you ready Greensboro?” – all while remaining out of sight. As expected the near sold-out audience responded with deafening cheers that nearly shattered the wine glasses that sat atop the VIP tables.
Pleasure ensued through JoJo’s deep set list that included an mildly expected, yet appreciated cover, a lap dance for a lucky Lance that the vocalist’s team plucked from the crowd and a short acoustic break from the party-like anthems. Oozing confidence, looking picturesque and masterfully promenading across the stage, JoJo literally had fans on their feet shouting “Fuck yeah JoJo!” from beginning to end.
The singer’s throwback tracks still hold as much value as they did in 2006 and her newer tracks are just as top-drawer. There’s very little fault to be found in them. The anthem “F*** Apologies” featuring Wiz Khalifa bursts with energy and contagious, unapologetic confidence. The sassy “FAB.” featuring Remy Ma is the unashamed track that any other pop artist would kill for. The irresistible spirit that weaves through JoJo’s homecoming album is profound and impossible to ignore.
However, it’s Ms. Levesque’s vocals that carry the jaw-dropper. Not only can JoJo put on one hell of a show and incite the finest of parties, she sings phenomenally, exhibited in “I Am.” – a solo power-ballad that showcases a praiseworthy vocal range. With voice that challenges the Queens of the pop scene, an outgoing onstage personality and a vibrant repertoire of new tunes, JoJo’s set to reclaim her crown and handing out delicious slices of love along the way.