No, wait, there's more.
[ETA: the photos are showing up in weird sizes on dw as opposed to lj - not sure why, hopefully it's something going on with photobucket that will work itself out.]
So I tried to get a big group of people to go, but in the end it just ended up being me and my friend Deirdre which was fine - Deirdre had a good time, and I had a good time, so it was a success! My friend Robin was also there, but she was with other people and we didn't connect except very briefly before doors opened. Also some friends of Robin's were right behind us in line and we chatted about Elementary and some other stuff, so that was cool! But we were not together in the concert except for when the crowd moved around some and then these friends were leaning against my shoulder while making out. A little awkward, haha.
But overall it was a good crowd, which was important because there was so much waiting, agh. Doors were supposed to open at 6, but we didn't get in until 6.40, and then the inner doors didn't open until 7. It was a good venue, with seating in the balcony and a sloped floor in the main area so that you could see pretty well wherever you were (we were close, but not SUPER close, and I could see great). The opening act was delayed until 7.40, and it wasn't very good - Strange Names is a local act, but I can't work up much loyalty to them. They're a very, idk, indie awkward young white male band with some aggressive sexuality in their music. Deirdre mentioned something about 'ode to rape culture' and then said that was too harsh, but I actually think that's very accurate. It was just the wrong kind of thing to open for Janelle Monae given that her whole thing is decency and acceptance and respect? Also I can think of a dozen local bands who would have been awesome to have, and Strange Names is not one of them.
But they were an unannounced opener and they had a sense of humor about the fact that we did not really want to see them, so kudos for that. I liked the drummer.
And then Janelle didn't come on until 9, which was kind of rough. The DJ was really good in the meantime - apparently he came in on pretty short notice, but he had a great mix of music, very well related to Janelle's sound. And once Janelle started, OH MY GOD.
It was just such an amazing performance? Usually concerts are only about the music, which is fine - artists play a couple songs, talk about the songs, play some more songs - but this was a whole act. Janelle was brought in on a two-wheeler by stage-hands in lab coats, and there wasn't a break from the second she started until she left the stage. She had so much energy, wow. There were about eight other musicians on stage and everyone's movement was perfectly choreographed and every note was perfect. Janelle's voice was gorgeous, and the black and white stage aesthetic was gorgeous, and the crowd was in love and I screamed my voice out. I jokingly told Deirdre that I would go sexual for Janelle and haha maybe that wasn't a joke haha. She's so cute and powerful at the same time. And her guitarist (Kellindo) is really astonishingly good. Her entire band is amazing.
She did an hour set and then came back for another hour as an encore - pretty sure that was just an intermission when she left, not an 'ending.' She did a cover of I Want You Back in which she sounded exactly like young Michael Jackson, and another cover of Prince while Prince was apparently up in the balcony seating, cheering her on. I almost cried when she thanked the crowd right before she sang Cold War, and then laughed over and over during her very extended performance of Come Alive. During that song, she started doing call and response with 'get low' and kept gesturing the crowd to get lower until we were all crouched on the ground, at which point she put a bird cage on her head and swam out into the crowd, crawling around and gesturing frantically at anyone who stood up to take pictures. I was five feet away from Janelle at one point, before she went back on stage, and then when she finally let us stand up again she decided to crowd surf and I got to help push her around the crowd. I don't think I've ever seen a performer with as much control of the audience as she had. When the show ended it was 11 pm and I had been at the venue for five hours and it felt like I had been watching her for about 15 amazing minutes.
Here are some more photos, taken by real professionals because apparently some really great concerts get media coverage:
Before the show, they were handing out these cards with 'the ten droid commandments' and Commandment IX was 'By show's end, you must transform. This includes, but is not limited to eye color, perspective, mood or height.'
I definitely felt transformed. I still feel transformed.