By Pauline Hunt

Artist: Brandy

Date / Venue: Wednesday June 15th, 2016 - Civic Theatre, Auckland

For the first time ever, Brandy Norwood or better known as Brandy made her way to New Zealand to perform at Auckland’s Civic Theatre. Brandy first entered the music scene in the 90’s and released her first album ‘Brandy’ in 1994, a collection of street-oriented, rhythm and blues with a hip hop edge. ‘Never Say Never’ which was her second album, sold 16 million copies worldwide with 2 number one singles and also earning Brandy her first Grammy award. After the success of her second album, Brandy released 4 more albums and is currently playing ‘Roxie Hart’, on Broadway’s musical ‘Chicago’.

The Civic Theatre was buzzing with crowds of people before the doors even opened. Once we were allowed in, music from the 80’s and 90’s could be heard before stepping through the door. DJ Reminisce was the support act for Brandy and he was prepping the audience to be in for a good night. People of all ages were enjoying the music that was being played through the room. Everything from Bell Biv DeVoe to R-Kelly to Mariah Carey, we were being transported back in time. After an hour of ‘taking us back’, DJ Reminisce had finished off his set so the stage could be ready for the main act to make her way.

There was some delay for Brandy making her way to the stage as she was due to perform at 9pm. Music was being played in the meantime as we patiently waited with excitement to see what she would bring to her show. Unfortunately, after almost an hour, Brandy made her way to the stage and opening her concert off with her record ‘Afrodisiac’ from the same titled album that was released in 1994. She did however apologise for being late as she wanted to make sure that everything was up to scratch for her fans. She went onto perform hits such as ‘What About Us’, ‘Full Moon’ and ‘Who Is She to You’, with the audience singing along and dancing the night away. After performing such hits, Brandy announces that she wanted to take us back, performing records such as ‘Top Of The World’ feat Mase which was on her album ‘Never Say Never’, ‘Sittin’ Up In My Room’, which was produced by Babyface and recorded for the soundtrack album to the movie ‘Waiting To Exhale’ and then slowing it down with ‘Almost Doesn’t Count’ and ‘Have You Ever’ which are also singles from her ‘Never Say Never’ album.

After leaving the stage for a minor costume change, the singer came back out with a bow to her head and the instrumentation intro to Whitney Houston’s ‘How Will I Know’ before performing the hit record and bring the audience back to their feet to dance along with her. Brandy went on to perform a few more records in dedication of Whitney and how much of an inspiration she was to her, hits such as ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, and then saying a few words of how much she meant to her and finishing it off with ‘Exhale (Shoop Shoop)’

After leaving the stage, Brandy returned to perform a couple of her records from her latest album ‘Two Eleven’ which was released in 2012. Before ending the performance of her last song, she wanted to introduce her band as well as her dancers and just like that, left the stage. Of course not without an encore, replying to the screams from the audience to perform one last song.

Despite the delay in start time, Brandy came out entertaining and performing with enthusiasm and energy. Her voice did not disappoint as well as the choreography that went along with each hit she performed proving she still had what it takes to stay in the music scene. The live band and backup singers were also entertaining, helping make the show what it was. Brandy showed her fans that she still has a lot to offer and that she wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. You could see that she was having a good time on stage and she transmitted that same energy across, onto her audience.