Verizon Ladies First Tour
Conseco Fieldhouse Tuesday, March 30
Filled with spectacle but short on content, the Ladies First tour stopped at the Fieldhouse last week to exhibit the sparkle and shine of its stars for a few hours. It’s entirely too bad that the show ended up being so inconsequential. Any show featuring three multiplatinum recording artists is bound to struggle against time limitations. But the problems plaguing each of the three fine artists — Missy Elliott, Alicia Keys and Beyoncé — was not that the sets were so short, but that they were so meaningless. Elliott spent her 45 minutes on stage running victory laps around her best-known songs and seemed quite content to watch her dancers instead of extending herself vocally. Aside from the inevitable shout-outs to her dead homeys (Left Eye, Aaliyah, Biggie, ’Pac), she showed no signs of human life whatsoever. Alicia Keys is a remarkable singer, songwriter and stage presence, so why give her so little time in which to express herself. She showed great charisma and wit in her set, particularly when she sat down at the piano. But as soon as she walked on stage, it seemed she was leaving. Beyoncé got star billing but did relatively little to deserve it. She made a grand entrance, went through several clothing changes and danced a little. But she never pushed the limits of any of the songs, even a little. They were exact replicas of the hit recordings, with not even a hint of spontaneity. Most distressingly, she seems to be grooming herself for future Diana Ross-style divadom, where half the set is filled with breathless pronouncements about how happy the diva is to be here tonight. Next time, Keys should dump the others and perform a two-hour set of her own.