Last night at New York City’s Highline Ballroom, The-Dream didn’t hit the stage until 12:20am. Late, but rightfully so. The Atlanta singer-songwriter-producer’s hits are best suited for after-dark activities. They’re aggressive love ballads: Some about making a woman squeal in bed, others about stealing another man’s girl to eventually take her home and achieve the former.
Dream, born Terius Nash, hit the stage accompanied by six dancers—all slender, hour-glass-figured women dressed in black lace bodysuits and blazers. Wearing a silver and black varsity jacket, sunglasses, and fitted Atlanta Braves cap, Dream kicked off the show with his latest single, “Love King.” As a live performer, he’s not much of a singer. He coolly masked his light, airy tone by singing along with his own vocals as they blared through the speakers, halfway lip-syncing.
He’s also a work in progress as a dancer. But he blended in nicely with his hired eye candy, frequently launching into his signature jerky pop-locking moves.
What Dream lacks in stage fundamentals, he makes up for in charisma and overall stage presence. Running through several of his R&B hits, including “Walking on the Moon” (featuring an interpolation of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”), “Shawty is the S—!,” and his hook on Snoop Dogg’s “Gansta Luv,” he often strutted and weaved between his vixens as if they were all potentially who’d he’d be going home with after he finished on stage.
After a brief intermission, the man returned in a spiked black leather trench coat to premier two tracks from his forthcoming album, the third from his Love series, Love King.
His dancers strip-teased as he sat down to sing his new “Sex Intelligent,” which recalls Ginuwine’s “Pony.” And he slid in some light choreography to perform the raunchy “Pull Your Panties to the Side.” The night’s lone guest appearance came from Def Jam label mate Fabolous, who hopped on stage to rap alongside Dream on their smash collaboration “Throw It in the Bag.”
At barely 40 minutes, Dream’s set was relatively brief for a headlining act. He closed with his last album’s smash, “Rockin’ That S—” before wishing New York a good night. He’s known for his passionate, elaborate love anthems. Yesterday’s showing was a simple a quickie, but as he proved Thursday night, those can be satisfying, too.
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