Live: The-Dream Revels In New York’s Love At S.O.B.’s


Sunday, March 11

Better than: Seeing Terius Nash tonight (I hope).

“I’m too rich to play with high-class bitches,” retorted The-Dream at his show at S.O.B.’s last night. Said “high-class bitch” was a lady he had pulled from the audience to seduce on stage during an especially touchy-feely rendition of “Purple Kisses.” With the sold-out venue watching, she squirmed uncomfortably around his whispers in her ears and wandering hands and, as a result, Mr. Nash was quick to swap her out for a more willing fan. Girl No. 2 was more than thrilled to wrap her arms around the singer and lean into him as he kissed her neck on stage. The whole scene had half of the audience hollering in appreciation as the other half watched through their hands, mouths agape, although it was probably a mistake to expect anything less from the oversexed bedroom crooner.

Self-aggrandizing swag is The-Dream’s forte, and probably plays the largest role in his appeal. (As opposed to the self-deprecating wails of the stripped-down Terius Nash; he’ll perform under that name tonight at the same venue.) Backed by a live band, he ran through hits—”Rockin’ That Shit,” “Walkin On the Moon,” “Love King”—peppered with a gratuitous amount of commentary along the lines of “New York loves me,” and shout-outs to Jay-Z and Beyoncé, who were posted up in the VIP section. “I haven’t done a show in two years,” he said at the onset of the night’s performance. “And since then, there’s been like four n*ggas that sound like me now. I’m just being honest.” Sounds like a not-so-subtle jab at the Weeknd, for starters.

One thing was abundantly clear: The man knows how to rile up a crowd. He’s not necessarily even a great entertainer live; his work is mostly done by his lyrics, and the audience’s insistence on screaming the punchlines back at him. Instead, the singer knows how to read his fans. He delivered the lines of “Falsetto” with a number of pelvic rolls and over-confident moans, sequenced his setlist with a familiarity that The-Dream purists reveled in (i.e. “Fancy” into “Right Side of My Brain”) and somehow commanded the corner of the room I was standing in to scream along to “Fuck That N*gga” without qualms. His backing band, however, he could have done without. He could have traded the guitar riffs and over-the-top keyboard and drum-kit crashes that ended half the songs with those who served as his backup for his last show two years ago—six fierce dancers in leotards and knee-pads, booty-dropping to “Shawty is a Ten.” Go ahead and evolve, Mr. Nash, but at least let the crowd keep the booty-drop.

Critical bias: Four Color Zack’s “Dream, A Little Dream” mix is on frequent rotation on my computer.

Overheard: “He is such a bougie motherfucker.”

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