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Live review: Chris Brown at the Avalon

A little singing, a little dancing from the performer in his first local show since his sentencing.


Chris Brown had already pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Rihanna earlier this year. But Wednesday night at the Avalon, in his first local performance since being sentenced to probation and community service in the February altercation in L.A., Brown still seemed to be offering up character witnesses in an attempt to prove, as he insists in a widely circulated YouTube video, that he's no monster.

First up was Keri Hilson, who appeared not long into Brown's hourlong set and sang her hit "Turnin' Me On." Hilson was followed by Ester Dean, whose song "Drop It Low" features a cameo from Brown. Later, the singer introduced a medley of Michael Jackson covers as a homage to his "homie, friend and loved one." And near the end of the show, during "No Air," Brown even pressed squeaky-clean "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks into service, trading verses with Sparks' recorded voice in a duet that has surely taken on new meaning in Brown's mind over the last nine months of smothering media scrutiny.

If the female-heavy crowd at the Avalon was serving as Brown's jury, the testimonials had their desired effect: This was precisely the sort of adoring audience Brown presumably intended to draw by calling his current trek, which launched last week in Houston, the Fan Appreciation Tour. The singer made no mention of the Rihanna incident; instead, he repeatedly announced that he was in the mood to party.

CHRIS_BROWN_LAT_LIVE_2 The mood to sing struck him only intermittently -- like Sparks' phantom performance in "No Air," some of Brown's vocals at the Avalon issued from a hard drive. At several points, he left the singing to other acts entirely, as when he instructed his DJ to play "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas. For a minute or so, Brown's concert consisted of watching the star dance around onstage to one of his favorite songs.

That wasn't necessarily a bad deal: Brown is a thrilling dancer, perhaps the finest of his generation, and Wednesday he moved with an elegance that he'd failed to muster when talking (or not talking) about Rihanna in recent interviews. His Jackson tribute in particular demonstrated his uncommon ability to endow crude sexual thrusts with a sort of gentlemanly polish, and as he executed a perfect moonwalk during "Billie Jean," you could see Brown imagining himself reversing through time in order to undo an act he has said he wishes he could take back.

(He conjured a less penitent image during the unfortunately titled "Take You Down," when he tore off a black tank top and revealed a sculpted physique that evoked notions of power and control.)

Brown closed the show with an exuberant version of his 2008 hit "Forever," but before he sang the song he reminded the audience that a portion of the concert's proceeds was headed to Best Buddies, a charity for people with developmental disabilities. His message seemed carefully constructed, a bridge to a moment in the future less loaded with subtext and implication.

"You're helping them out," he said. "Not me. Them."

--Mikael Wood

Photo credits: Alex Gallardo / Los Angeles Times


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Comments () | Archives (6)

Um, seriously people? This little cretin can just go back to business like he didn't beat (and BITE) the crap out of a woman? Unbelievable. I'm still amazed the chump still has the use of both knees. Jay-Z must be getting soft in his old age. The fact that there wasn't a AT LEAST a group of outraged protesters outside of this 'show' completely baffles the mind.

Anyone that paid for this nonsense deserves to be slapped. Hard. Twice.

Finally a well-written article about Chris! That was the same experience I had when I saw him at the Powerhouse concern in New Jersey. He is a great entertainer!

What a little bitchass mofo.

La Times PLEASE help me understand why you nor any other main stream media gave this much coverage and demonization to Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen, Jack Nicholson, Christian Slater, Evil Knievel, Tommy Lee and the rest of the A-list 'white' male abusers. Yet you have demonized this kid like he is the only one that has ever struck a woman. All of the men I mentioned above, did much worse to their mates than Chris did. Any of us(I am a grandmother, not a young teen) that have followed his career know what a decent kid he is and we also know that Rihanna had as much of a temper as him. Violence is violence, regardless to whether you're male or female, black or white. So come on America stop the hypocrisy. Everytime I hear something about dom. abuse now it has Chris Brown or Ike Turner's name in it. Never, ever do I hear about the A-listers that I named above, whose careers have flourished, whose mates didn't have to leave them to be a 'role model' for others and I am just truly sick of the biased reporting. I understand it, because it's human nature - but I am genuinely sick of it.

Chris Brown is truly amazing, I have come to the conclusion that to all the people still condeming Chris, they are clearly perfect, they do not make mistakes. Get it in to your thick skulls, he made a mistake, a big one, if not the biggest, however the guy is paying for it, but you can't expect the guy to be consumed by guilt every split second of his life. God has forgiven him, if he asked for forgiveness, I certainly hope he forgives himself.

People are just affraid that this boy becomes as successful as Michael Jackson or Prince or even your evil master Jay-Z.

Regardless of how anyone feels, Chris is an artists artist, and doesn't need all that cultish nonsense that Jay Z, Rihanna and Kanye have to offer. Date you a girl like Megan Good. Someone with real beauty and style, not someone completely remade by a recording label.

Chris Brown "Prince Of Pop" soon to be KING!!!!

Everyone needs to move on... as we've seen both Brown and Rihanna have tried too. Everyone is so focused on this one incident. If we truly cared about what entertainers do we would...

Not support Kobe for cheating and possibly raping a woman and still playing for the Flakers making millions.

Not support and flock to see "This is it", and support a man who has passed, but is still remembered with his brush with the law and young boys. Not even mentioning the family exploitation of the incident.

Not support Carter for beating his girlfriend, yet still singing and dancing with his group.

Not support Mel for his anti-Semitic spitfire drunk mouth with the all inspiring sugar tits comment.

Not support Whitney Huston for being a druggie and a bad role model for children.

Not support Paul Ruben aka: Pee Wee, during his new tour for Pee Wee's Playhouse which seems to be selling out.

Not support Paris Hilton for her sex tape which truely tarnished young women and how they should act.

Not support Hugh Grant for picking up a hooker while he was still married.

Not support Woody Allen who is having sexual relations with his oldest adopted daughter.

If we truly cared, these people would be out of the lime light for good, but the fact of the matter is....we don't care enough. Just see how many people still go to see these artist perform. See how much money they make in a recession. But we should care about a scuffel these two had. It's over the punishment was handed out. So quit complaining....and if you don't like it don't read about it.


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