Alicia Keys, Unleashed
The singer opens new doors and jumps out of her cage onstage during her Freedom Tour.
The "Empire State" beat leapt out of the speakers for the second time and Jay-Z strolled out to rock with Alicia. In black from his leather jacket to sneakers, Jay ripped down the Garden just as he did weeks ago when he headlined there.
"Thank you, New York," said New York's hometown songstress after hugging Jay-Z. "I just want to encourage you all to find your freedom." Obviously, at 29, she's found hers.
Alicia's show was not over-the-top. It was overstated. Warhol-like images of President John F. Kennedy, Ghandi, Bob Marley and Princess Diana made messages like "Fight" and "Rise Up" presented on the video screen unnecessary.
Pleasantly obvious was that Alicia's a woman, not a girl. On top of the roaring musical talent and foundation Keys came in with, she's got moves and attitude. She has flare. Hip switch by switch and dance step by step, she's grown plenty over her career.
As with her performance overall, when keeping it simple she was at her greatest. Sure, there are some bugs to upgrade. But the added bells and whistles throughout the years haven't hurt. The 4.0 version suits many just fine.
Brad Wete's a young Manhattanite who writes for AOL, Vibe and Entertainment Weekly.