It’s often said that what matters is the singer, not the song, which is why music fans are still moved by Bing Crosby’s rendition of “99 Bottles of Beer.” Savor a voice that could sing the phone book with this GrouponLive deal to see Fantasia and After 7 at Arena Theatre on Saturday, May 12, at 8 p.m. For $60, you get two tickets for seating in row S, T, or U (a $129 value, including all fees).
As a young girl growing up in North Carolina, Fantasia Barrino could be heard belting out songs of praise from her hometown church, where she began stirring emotions with her soulful, passionate crooning. Years later, her unmistakable voice, which has been described as a mix of Aretha Franklin and Macy Gray, earned the talented singer top honors as the winner of American Idol's third season, leading to her Billboard-topping debut single, "I Believe." Building a ladder to superstardom, Fantasia has since released three studio albums, starred in the Broadway musical The Color Purple, and won a Grammy for Best Female R & B Vocal Performance, all the while enrapturing audiences with her energetic performances. Her publicized struggles have often endeared fans to her tenacious spirit, and her re-interpretations of renowned songs such as "Summertime" and Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" have earned her myriad accolades.
R & B group After 7, known for their prolific outpouring of smooth tunes in the 1990s, chimes in on the euphonious event with performances of such hits as "Heat of the Moment" and their cover of Hall & Oates's "Sara Smile," which is an ode to Mona Lisa's lesser known but more expressive sister. Formed by brothers Melvin and Kevon Edmonds and their friend Keith Mitchell in 1989, After 7 reunites with two-thirds of the original lineup to satisfy ears hungry for music-infused nostalgia.
At Arena Theatre, nobody sits farther than 60 feet from the show. Most concertgoers who’ve squinted their ways through major concerts at other venues can attest that the in-the-round seating arrangement and revolving stage are causes for celebration. And the stars have noticed. Since the 1970s, the state-of-the-art venue has attracted a long list of legendary performers including Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, and Aretha Franklin. While their golden vocal chords ring through the stellar acoustics, fans sink into comfy seats, savor a flashy light system, and discard their unnecessary opera glasses.