ARTS

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June 1, 2007

Chicago favorite Robin Thicke raises the temperature on the North Side

What would the South Side of Chicago be without Robin Thicke? Maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but since his song “Lost Without U” hit the airwaves of WGCI, the South Side has never been the same.

One can hear the song blasting in cars on a daily basis, as well as other endearing tunes from The Evolution of Robin Thicke. For that reason, Thicke makes almost monthly performances in Chicago, filling up each and every venue.

A fellow concertgoer stated before the concert began that she only came to hear the single “Lost Without U,” dismissing interest in any other of Thicke’s songs. Yet for some reason, she and the rest of the audience—including a very pregnant fan—packed themselves like tuna in a can of Chicken of the Sea in the standing space of the Riviera Theatre next to the stage, and let their guard down upon Thicke’s arrival on the stage. Once the first moan escaped his lips, the crowd was his for the taking.

After the band coolly established the groundwork for the uplifting “2 the Sky,” Thicke used his seductive falsetto to win over the hearts of the female audience and give the men something to which to aspire.

Just as the crowd caught the spirit, devotedly waving along to this hymn, the energy shifted, as Thicke confessed, “They want me with my hands up,” and the crowd surrendered their hands once again.

The almost-retro, upbeat grooves of “Cocaine” and “Complicated” had the crowd moving as if they were high on the drug Thicke sang so passionately about (although there was a looming smell of something else…).

Chocolate and ginseng are no competition for Thicke’s “I Need Love,” as he started the song on a high note, continuing with the sexually suggestive lines, “I can do better than make love to you/ Better than make you scream my name,” and ends pleading for love. “Teach U a Lesson” kept the sexual tension high as Thicke worked the microphone stand as if it were his wife Paula Patton.

Trumpet sound bites blasted in the introduction to “Everything I Can’t Have,” a tribute to the Boricuas, Morenas, Cubanas, Mexicanas, and more in the audience, as Thicke performed a couple of salsa moves on stage, putting even Elvis’s once-risqué pelvis thrusts to shame.

“God has a plan for all of us,” Thicke explained, detailing his road to success and how much Chicago jumpstarted his musical career before performing the megahits “Lost Without U” and “Wanna Love U Girl,” the crowd pronouncing every word and background vocal.

With a voice that would make even the most stubborn listener jump off of that mystical bridge, honoring Thicke with the opening slot in Beyoncé’s U.S. tour was a clever choice for Beyoncé’s career and an ingenious choice to further the career of Thicke.