Editor's note: Local musician Timothy Cox shares with us a review of the Mindless Behavior concert at the James Brown Arena.
Amid all the compelling events that I’ve experienced during my illustrious career as an entertainment journalist, I never had the opportunity to cover The Beatles first American tour in 1964.
However, relatively speaking – on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 -- I felt a minor sense of what the Fab Four scene must have been like, when hundreds of screaming teenagers rush the stage to see their favorite performers.
In this case, it was the Mindless Behavior # 1 Girl Tour, featuring a new-look Fab Four, including a quartet of 15-year-old rap/dance/vocalists named Princeton, Ray-Ray, Prodigy and Roc Royal.
While the groups’ name, Mindless Behavior, naturally conjures negative connotations, refreshingly, these young artists provided a well-thought-out, well-rehearsed brand of entertainment that was especially tasteful, fun and importantly, squeaky-clean for a fan-base largely consisting of grade-schoolers, tweens and those in their late teens.
It was almost as if the MB management team were well-prepared to answer to the numerous unofficial chaperones in the audience consisting of hundreds of young mothers and fathers; big sisters, big brothers, aunties, uncles, grandparents and baby-sitters too.
In this reporter’s case, I welcomed the opportunity to escort my niece and nephew to their very first major concert event. Tulaysha Fluellen and younger brother Malik Fluellen, like their many peers on this night, were overly ecstatic and wide-eyed as they quickly rushed to our prime-time, center-stage seats at the William B. Bell Auditorium -- just five rows from the stage.
The youngsters excitedly watched big-league performances by opening acts Lil Twist, a Dallas-born Lil Wayne protege and Jacob Latimore, a singer-dancer who fits the mold of the next Usher Raymond.
The piercing, electrifying screams of girls, coupled with booming, subwoofer bass tones, created for a noisy mess down-front, for this old-school uncle – but one worth tolerating, at least temporarily.
Afterall, our seats were awesome.
This August 2012 concert also conjured memories of my very own first concert – 40 years ago – when The Jackson 5 and a young Michael Jackson played Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena. I was 14, and "stood" about 10 rows from the stage that night - amid piercing screams for Michael, Jermaine, Marlon, Tito and Jackie. Opening act? The Commodores with Lionel Richie on trumpet and keyboards.
The J-5’s current hit song on that July 15, 1972 evening, was “Dancin' Machine.”
Ironically, during a tribute to their Boy Band predecessors, Mindless Behavior served-up a new-millennium cover of “Dancin’ Machine,” while paying homage to New Edition and B2K.
Both Malik and Tulaysha noted that all the performers displayed bits and pieces of "Michael Jackson-like" choreographic moves - proving that MJ's influence continues to span generations. Also notable on this humid, mid-summer evening was a 10-minute set/wardrobe-change break when an on-stage graphic displayed our American flag and an image of President Obama. Positive words from the President emanated from PA speakers, offering words of wisdom, encouragement and advice to the young patrons, as some prepared to embark on yet another school year within coming days.
All in all, this was a very rewarding experience – and special shout-outs must be given to Mindless Behavior management team for presenting a very thoughtful piece of artistry – one that our Augusta youth will very much cherish – just as I’ve always treasured the thoughts of my first concert experience with the Jackson 5.
Oh, and I’d be remiss for not reporting that Mindless Behavior fans on this night were very WELL-BEHAVED and no incidents occurred in downtown Augusta.