Saturday night, the Opera House at the world-famous John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is the place where it’s a great evening for an epic concert – or in this case, night at the club. Kennedy Center Hip Hop Council member and amazing DJ D-Nice gathered a group of talented musicians for another year of music, community and love. If you weren’t here at the biggest party of the weekend, you missed your chance to be at Club Quarantine Live!
During the pandemic, a revolutionary virtual club safely brought the people together to explore music, love and community. This weekend, Club Quarantine transcended offline once more for three-day weekend of amazing programs, each featuring some all-star guests to entertain us. Friday night was the CQ Live Comedy Showcase that brought some of the best comedians to make us laugh. The comedians included Flex Alexander, Sherri Shepherd, Gina Yashere and Michael Che. Sunday’s program is the CQ Live Praise and Worship featuring Anthony Brown & group, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Virtue and J.J. Hairston and much more. For this article, we are going to focus on Saturday night where many Washingtonians got dressed up to meet at Club Quarantine Live!
Comedian Chris Spencer served as our host for the evening and got the crowd warmed up for the evening’s festivities. One of the things he did was to find out where everyone was from. Anyone that was from the DC metro area, he asked them to stand up and told the rest of the audience that we are guests in their house. He continued to crack jokes about people who are not properly dressed up and a gentleman dressed in a pink suit who could be Kem’s accountant. We even had a special guest within the audience watching the show with us, daytime talk show host Sherri Shepherd which was amazing! Chris continued to call out people from other countries, and even engaged the sororities and fraternities in attendance. As he continued to get us ready, he informed us that anyone over 50 that “this music you’re gonna to hear tonight is for you” and then to the 20-somethings in the audience that “you won’t be to use TikTok for about three hours”. Then, the moment has arrived when he said those magic words, “may I present to you… Club Quarantine!”
The burgundy and gold curtain rises and you see the stage where our emcee DJ D-Nice was set up on his booth with the Igmar Thomas’ Revive Big Band surrounding him. Who knew that the Opera House would turn into DC’s hottest club for one night only? I have never seen a crowd like this at the venue and its so thrilling to be among them & dance and singing along myself. Not only that, to see the talents of MC Lyte, Muni Long, Camp Lo and more to the stage – this was not just a concert… this was an experience.
The evening started to pick up once we hear the familiar beats from the 90’s classic “Hip Hop Hooray” from Naughty by Nature and coming out to take us back is one of its members, Vin Rock. He spit out those rhymes like it was yesterday and lead us in a hand wave that made the song famous. Then the DJ transitioned to second hit by the group, “O.P.P.” Hearing these songs again takes me back to when I first heard them in middle school and the classmates was singing along. Even though Vin left the stage after performing the two songs, this will not be the last time, we’ll see him during the night. He kept on popping up in between sets and we love him for it!
What’s amazing about this special concert is that we get to hear DJ-D Nice spinning the tunes to the keep the crowd going for the next musical act. For the first music break, we get “California Love” but in a unique way as this mean harmonica player Frédéric Yonnet played his heart out. Known for playing harmonica as a lead in jazz, R&B, funk, gospel and hip-hop influenced music, he’s able to reach scales like no other. He takes any old and kicks it up a notch with the harmonica. God bless him for his unique gift. If you haven’t seen him perform live in concert, you owe it to yourself to do so.
The next musical act to come on Opera House stage is one that many people, myself included, were waiting for… the return of 90’s sweetheart Tracie Spencer. It was just a few months ago that Tracie appeared on a Instagram with Shanice and El DeBarge that recaptured our attention on the amazing songstress. When we got word that she was going to perform tonight, it was worth it! The crowd was on their feet waiting to see their 90s queen sing her heart out and she delivered! Tracie started out her night with “This House” and got the crowd to sing with her. Before going into the next song, D-Nice told us how he told Tracie about CQ and she didn’t hesitate to say “yes!” and we are grateful for it. Then, we slowed things down a bit to hear the sweet ballad of “Tender Kisses”. To hear her sing the classic ballad live after all this time, too me back to my youth and to having childhood crushes once more. After her two-song set, Tracie said to the crowd “Thank you for making me feel good. Thank you for welcoming me back”. If this was her first time performing live after all this time, it was a great performance. Welcome back, Tracie! You need to come back to DC and perform your own show!
For the ladies, R&B artist Kem came out to swoon and capture some hearts tonight. With the help of the band, he performed a couple of his hits including “Share My life”. He said that “he’s glad to be back in the DMV and wants to feel good tonight”. I feel with his performance he made us feel good tonight for his voice was smooth as silk that you can appreciate the love you’re with.
Coming back to DC since her performance at Capital Pride in June is Shanice! It was great to see her back to the DMV to perform once more. She started out the night with her 1999 hit “When I Close My Eyes” that electrified the crowd. And the way she hit those hits high notes, is icing on the cake. And then, she starts off in a slow build-up to delivering a powerful performance of her signature song “I Love Your Smile”. No matter what generation you are from, this is the feel-good song of the night and we thank Shanice for singing it once again to us.
By the end of the night, CQ Live was going into SOCA mode as Machel Montano got the whole place jumping in rhythm & dancing to the beat all night long. The “One More Time” artist, dressed in a burgundy velour tux, even got to show his nation’s pride by waving the Trinidad & Tobago flag while performing and then throwing it to a lucky audience member. He spent most of his set running across the stage and looking intently at the audience, daring them to do anything but dance and the audience did just that. No matter if you were from the Caribbean, have its roots or just felt the vibe, he brought help bring the island party spirit to CQ. His set was the longest of all the musical acts of the night.
CQ Live closed out the night with binging back most of the acts to sing and dance along to “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. CQ Live is epic concert that brings the best that R&B & Hip Hop has to offer. If you want to dress up and get down & dance, this is the concert for you no matter you are and how you unwind. I am already looking forward to CQ Live 2024.
FINAL GRADE: A+