By Gatini Tinsley, Special to the Oakland Press
POSTED: 06/06/15, 4:47 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO 0 COMMENTS
DETROIT – Chene Park began its 2015 weekend series with some nostalgia on Friday, June 5.
The Bad Boy Reunion tour offered a nearly four-hour dose of iconic rap and R&B sounds from Sean “Puffy” Combs’ iconic record label, hearkening back to the company’s chart-busting 80s and 90s heyday. Faith Evans, known as the First Lady of Bad Boy, was the headliner, killing it with a high-energy set, jumping right into her 1995 hit single “I Remember” from her debut album “Faith.”
Wearing a skin tight red mini-dress accompanied by strappy stiletto heels, she strutted across the stage flipping her Jessica Rabbit-styled red hair as the crowd swayed back and forth to hit after hit. “We Can Dance,” got everyone out of their chairs for a singalong, after which she briefly paused to acknowledge her nearly 20-year career span. “Detroit was one of the first cities that embraced me,” she noted. “I see my old faithfulls out here tonight.”
“You Get No Love” was up next; Ironically, she did just the opposite of what the song title suggests, showing love to a fan who reached toward her at the end of the stage for a hug. Evans slowed down the show with “Again” and “Soon as I Get Home,” belting out some impressive runs that led to a quick gospel moment that fans will not soon forget. Evans left on a high note with “Love Like This.”
The Bad Boy Reunion rolled on with R&B boy band 112, which charmed the ladies by singing “Cupids Love,” “U Already Know” and its highest -charting hit to date, “Peaches & Cream.” Sticking to choreography from previous videos, the group got everyone on their feet for “Dance For Me.” After that, the singers acknowledged the proverbial elephant in the room; “Ya’ll know this is a Bad Boy reunion right? But we missing somebody, The Notorious BIG. But he’s here in spirit.” 112 then played homage to Biggie with a mix of “It Was All A Dream,” “One More Chance” and “It’s All About The Benjamins” before ending its set with the motivational
“The Sky Is The Limit.”
Rapper and Combs sidekick-turned-pastor Mase smoothly reverted to his old self on Friday, wearing jeans and an orange baseball cap as he spit out “Only You,” “Been Around The World” and “What You Want.” He, too, paid tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. by performing the late MC’s parts in those songs, as well as Diddy’s verses.
Reflecting on his career, Mase told the Chene crowd that, “I just wanted to do something different. It was my dream to rap, and Detroit, you helped me with that dream.” Fitting the moment entirely, “Mo Money Mo Problems” got the crowed up and waving its hands, ending with an emotional, Mase-led chant for Biggie – whose songs were played between each act.
Carl Thomas opened the Bad Boy Reunion show in a debonair three-piece suit and black shades. The sultry lyrics in “Emotional” and “Summer Rain” felt perfect for the breezy evening as the cool chill of the wind blew through the amphitheater. Leading into his next cut, Thomas gave us a glimpse into his private life, noting that the one time I chose to air my dirty laundry spun my No. 1 record, ‘I Wish.’”