If R&B music is dead, then Emily King certainly brought it back to life with her electrifying performance at the Granada Theater last week. With the iconic stage presence of a natural born performer and a visually stunning set, adorned with vibrant lighting that ranged from lively purples to poignant grays, King delivered an unforgettable performance that her Dallas fans will always cherish.
The show began with the captivating presence of singer Joseph Solomon, exuding the classic charm and debonair elegance reminiscent of Marvin Gaye, paired with a voice smoother than warm honey. Although I had never listened to his music before, the loud, roaring cheers from the audience as he arrived on-stage immediately made me realize one thing: I’ve been missing out. And once he began to skillfully play his guitar, the voice of an angel gracing my ears, my realization became an undeniable truth. Throughout his performance, he serenaded us with heartfelt ballads that explored themes of self-love, forgiveness, and the beauty of Blackness.
In addition to his entrancing songs, one of the most standout moments of his performance was his impeccable comedic timing. My personal favorite was his clever remark about how people will groove to the most melancholic, emotionally charged songs as if they were about frolicking through a field of sunflowers on a beautiful day. To seemingly prove his point, he transitioned into one of his own saddening ballads, and I found myself, along with the rest of the audience, immediately catching the rhythm. (It’s not our fault the song had a nice groove to it. I blame the producer.) After a few more shared laughs and engaging songs, he bid us a farewell, much to our dismay. As he exited the stage, I made a mental note to give him a follow on Spotify. He definitely earned a new fan that night.
Moments later, as the audience became familiar with one another and dabbled in excited small talk, white smoke began to creep across the stage, creating an ominous yet anticipatory atmosphere. Though we all knew who to expect, the mystery of when she would appear kept us intrigued, the smoke gradually enveloping the instruments arranged on stage. A brief moment of silence fell over the audience until, as though we all had the same moment of realization, a wave of cheers erupted. She was coming, and we couldn’t wait any longer.
As her band slowly made their way onto the stage, the cheers grew in intensity, reaching a deafening crescendo. I quickly reached for my camera, ready to capture a moment worth waiting for. And finally, my anticipation dissolved into an all-encompassing feeling of excitement. Almost like a thrilling ball of energy, Emily King burst onto the stage, launching the show with one of her golden anthems, “Medal.” You couldn’t help but feel her seemingly boundless energy as she moved across the stage, a smiler brighter than the sun shining across her face, as if there was nowhere else she’d rather be.
While her setlist initially exuded an energetic and up-tempo vibe during the first few songs, with “Can’t Hold Me” and “This Year” pulling the audience into an irresistible groove, Emily was able to seamlessly transition the atmosphere into something more somber when need be. For her first transition, the lights had faded to black from the once sparkling pinks they bore, and came back a melancholic gray, a lonesome spotlight on her. The audience had become as silent as a whisper as she began to serenade us with “Down,” a heart wrenching song about an unstable love. In these mesmerizing moments, when the audience stood still and captivated, lost in the ethereal beauty of Emily’s voice, I had never felt more at one in a group.
It seemed that from that moment, Emily had us on our feet, eagerly anticipating which song she would perform next, purely by inspecting the lighting, mood changes, and even instrumentation. I will never forget the person in the crowd who immediately screamed “Radio!” at the top of their lungs when Emily grabbed her guitar, and the lights became dim (because yeah, me too). Overall, it was a fantastic setlist that highlighted her talent and versatility, showcasing a beautiful blend of beloved classics to fresh tracks. However, one aspect that stood out the most to me was her audience interaction—similar to my feeling about Joseph Solomon’s. From the undeniable love that was exchanged between her and the crowd, to her directing us to become one unified voice during one of her songs, it truly was an amazing sight to see. With that extra layer of engagement, it made the experience all the more memorable.
That night, Emily parted from us with her soulful renditions of “Remind Me” and “Distance,” giving us a fresh take on two of her most beloved songs. It was bittersweet to see her leave after delivering such a phenomenal performance. Though, there was one thing that became abundantly clear that night: if I could help it, I wouldn’t miss her next show, or any show after that, whenever she decides to touch down in Dallas again. Her presence left a permanent mark in the Granada Theater, and I can’t wait for the chance to experience her live artistry once more.