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I love to love

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The Jody Watley show at the Lilac Festival, as expected, was a blast. A small crew of us battled the dark and ominous clouds that frequent Rochester and made our way to Highland Park, one of downtowns' hidden gems.

I chatted with her management a bit, meeting the tour manager (hey Van!) and gave a quick wave to Jody as she was escorted to her makeshift dressing room (more on that later) on a golf cart.

Jody gave a great show. Regardless of crowd attendance, she commandeered the platform and demanded affection at every moment. The girl knows how to work a stage, let me tell ya. I was glad David, Evan and I had gotten the prime location near the stage; I was snappin’ photos just as quickly as Watley was visiting her back catalog. Opening with “Looking for a New Love,” Watley embraced the song just as much today as when it was in the top ten: nearly twenty years ago. A personal favorite of mine, “Still a Thrill” came next. Given her upcoming release “The Makeover” is a re-dressing of her hits, it’s only fitting she gave us a tease of what’s to come. Two tracks from the collection made the performance; the lead single “Borderline” (yes, a Madonna cover) was received instantly by the crowd, and a slinky re-visit of 1988’s “Most of All.” After paying homage to Shalamar and digging into a few tracks from Midnight Lounge, Watley closed the set with “Real Love.” There’s somethin’ about that thick and thumpin’ beat that never gets old. I adore that song.

After Jody left the outdoor stage and made her way to the makeshift “dressing room” (a camping trailer behind the stage) a gaggle of concertgoers swarmed the gated area near the trailer, cat-calling the singer and asking for autographs. Jody, decked out in dark sunglasses, was gracious enough to meet the folks, regardless of how off-kilter they seemed to be. All the while me and Evan just stood back and watched the mini-chaos ensue.

The most interesting moment occurred when a man staggered up to the gate just as Jody was wrapping up her signing. He started yelling “Miss Fostah, Miss Fostah, can I get those glasses you wearin!” He went through this pestering call a few times and then a short pudgy woman, also up against the gate turned and yelled “What’chu talkin’ ‘bout. That Jody WATLEY not JODY FOSTER!!!” This strange but funny little scenario truly exemplified the essence of some of the crowd gathered for the free concert. Watley had a large contingency of fans hyped for the show, but there was also a small group that seemed to just happen upon the open-air show.

It was flattering to have the DJ and Jody’s assistant recognize me and tell me to stick around as “she had somethin’ for me.” Evan and I stayed long enough for her to wrap up a CBS interview. Soon after she CBS'd, we were escorted into said trailer for a little meet and greet and photo op. I joked with Jody about how tired she must have been after workin’ the stage and how I loved the sequencing of the set (I was nervous, what can I say!) She was so gracious for all of my support and gave me a big hug and a t-shirt from her online boutique. She was just as lovely in real life as I had imagined and I thanked her for being such an inspiration.

It’s interesting as this week came about and the conversations I had leading up to the concert. So many people had to dig deep to remember who Watley was. I don’t know why, but that seemed to bother me a bit. Internally, it must contradict everything I know. She was to me what Beyonce is to a generation younger than me today.I think my connection to Jody began when my aunt gave me Watley’s debut cassette in 1987. Being thirteen and already in touch with something inside me that seemed different, I instantly connected to the music and the artist. Perhaps it was the George Michael duet or the diva-in-training beats. Whatever it may have been, I was hooked. That connection I had back when I was thirteen has been rediscovered over the last five years or so as Jody’s music has gone in a path that I travel today. Deep house and electronic has been my passion for quite some time, so to have that teenage admiration from the past combine with my musical interests of today brings my love of Watley full-circle. It doesn't hurt that Jody and I both share a love for Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt of Everything but the Girl.

I do look forward to her upcoming projects and am going to try and make it to a few of her east coast showings…I hope my interests in Watley’s career translates on this blog strong enough to encourage other people to rediscover her past and upcoming catalog.

Please visit Jody's website for upcoming album and tour information.

She also gives a little shout-out to me and the blog!

3 Responses to “I love to love”

  1. Anonymous FRQSTR=19072480x219050:1:1440|19072480|19072480|19072480|19072480 

    When will you be back in Minnesota?

  2. Anonymous PopMuse 

    awww! that's great that you go to meet her. you are like the gay mayor of rochester!

  3. Anonymous van roy 

    it was such a pleasure meeting you. your enthusiasm
    and sincerity is much appreciated. plus...to love and
    understand the music like you do makes it even better!

    come to fashioncares in toronto!!! (june 3)

    thanks again for all the support!


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