Tamar Braxton teased her soon-to-be-released Love And War album at the Emerson Theater in Los Angeles with a brief but occasionally brilliant showcase tonight (July 29). It’s hard to believe the 36-year-old had a baby two months ago. The big-lunged reality star looked trim in black shorts and a sequined jacket — and had no trouble hitting the floor for some unexpected choreography. While the comeback queen certainly knows how to grab your attention, the highlight of the four song set was hearing the sultry singer’s powerful voice in full flight. Tay Tay hits notes other divas only dream about.
The show kicked off with Tamar’s four male dancers hitting the stage (in six-pack revealing mesh t-shirts and leather trousers) for some old school dance moves before the lady herself appeared to belt out what sounded like a slightly sped-up version of summer single “The One”. The slick Yung Berg/LaShawn Daniels jam is undeniably catchy and still sounds fresh months after release. It was nice to see Tamar dance along, playfully whipping her blond hair along with the music.
Next up was a new track. Toni Braxton‘s little sister didn’t introduce the ballad — in fact, she didn’t speak to the crowd once during the entire performance — so I’m not sure what it’s called but the soaring love song was very much in the vein of “Love And War”. The songstress sat on a wooden stool and really let loose vocally. She eventually knelt on the ground to hit notes that only dogs can hear. It was dramatic and over-the-top. In other words, quintessentially Tamar. If this is any indication of the album’s direction, lovers of soulful R&B are in for a treat.
After the spectacle that preceded it, the singer’s breakthrough hit “Love And War” almost seemed almost tame by comparison. She returned to her stool and sang to her family and friends in the crowd. (There was no sign of Toni or Trina Braxton though). She sounded fantastic but Tamar needs to work on engaging the crowd. She looked to the front of the room for the entire performance — not once connecting with people to her left and right. By this stage, her lack of communication was also starting to feel quite strange. A simple hello would have gone a long way.
Tamar closed the showcase with fan favorite “Hot Sugar”. The inclusion of this upbeat, funk-heavy track on the album will please a lot of people given the raucous response from the diva’s fans in the audience who sang along loudly. Braxton’s dancers reappeared for some welcome choreography and the star of the show finally seemed to unwind a little, smiling at fans and whipping her weave. But then the song ended and Tamar ran off stage without so much as taking a bow. It was an odd way to end what was otherwise a very impressive set.
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