Maxwell’s 25-city tour passes through Houston

The Toyota Center scene was dark. Standing, barely visible under a now dim blue light, was Gerald Maxwell Rivera, slowly snapping his fingers. A white spotlight lit him up in front of the packed audience as he continued to crackle and the band began playing the opening chords of “Ascension”, the hit single from Maxwell’s 1996 album. Maxwell’s Urban Suite.

As the spotlight shone on the singer, the audience began singing the lyrics to the first verse, their voices filling the entire Toyota Center.

“I’m just waiting for the Woooo,” he laughed as he danced on stage Friday night before singing the first note as the audience rose to applause.

Maxwell released BLACKsumers’night in 2009, the first of a trilogy that continued in 2016 blackSUMMERS’night and will end this spring with a new album, DARK SUMMER NIGHT. The collection of album titles can’t be singled out unless written, but it shows Maxwell’s consistent plan to return to music after taking a seven-year hiatus following the release of his 2001 album. Now.

During the break, he focused on pedestrian life to recharge his system, focus on what’s important and live away from the road. With the release of his debut album, Maxwell’s Urban Suiteand follow-ups, Embryo and Now, the Brooklyn native helped define a new sound for R&B alongside pivotal acts like Erykah Badu, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild. And while he missed him on his hiatus, he continued to create music.

This music laid the foundation for his current trilogy. The intro album won a Grammy in 2010 and dispelled any doubt that Maxwell had lost a musical milestone.

Click to enlarge

The Night Tour is the culmination of over two decades of music.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

The NIGHT 2022 tour features all of its musical stages with Maxwell joining Anthony Hamilton and Joe. The 25-city tour that touched down in Houston on Friday treated R&B fans to more than two decades of music.

During this period, Maxwell was under the Columbia Record label, but the last album of his trilogy marks a change in the activity of the singer. With DARK SUMMER NIGHT, the singer is leaving his longtime record company and signing a deal with BMG under his own Musze label. The tour is also organized by The Black Promoters Collective, a coalition of six of the nation’s largest independent event production companies. The change in activity doesn’t take anything away from the music with Maxwell releasing “Off” last fall as a teaser for the upcoming spring music. He’s no stranger to keeping fans waiting, releasing singles in 2018 and 2021 for an album that’s not expected to be released until this year, but it’s an expectation his supporters don’t seem to mind due to the quality of the music.

Maxwell wasn’t the only one delivering quality music on Friday night. The Night Tour is almost equally Joe and Anthony Hamilton, with the artists splitting time during the three-hour gig. Anthony Hamilton, fresh off his 2021 release Love is the new trend, went through blow after blow, keeping the Houston crowd roaring with approval. He ended his set with an extended version of Charlene, entering an acapella version of the song before his band played it with an interpolation of “Come Home” by Anderson .Paak.

Click to enlarge The tour comes as Maxwell prepares to release the closing album of his trilogy.  - PHOTO BY VIOLETA ALVAREZ

The tour comes as Maxwell prepares to release the closing album of his trilogy.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

Meanwhile, Joe, the show’s opener, warmed up the audience as he perused his catalog. While Maxwell was the reason for the tour, any of the featured artists were more than capable of putting on a headlining performance. It was a fact that did not escape the public, many of whom marked the evening as their first outing on the town in the past two years.

“It’s a powerful show. I’m a huge Maxwell fan but Anthony Hamilton is a staple. He just makes music that’s timeless, and you know when you hear it the music is going to be there forever,” exclaimed Hazel Smith-Carroll as she and her husband walked out during a break between sets Her husband KC was just glad to be back outside.

“I just like to see people coming back. People look healthy and it feels like the fear has passed and people are going back to what they really need to do. It’s beautiful and j love to see it.”

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