One of the most popular R’n’B events of the year in Australia was on last night at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena. Jampacked with nothing but good vibes and everyone keen to party, Fridayz Live was hosted by Fatman Scoop and Abbie Chatfield. Over the course of 8 hours, we got to witness and incredible line-up.
Opening the event was none other than Lumidee with her remix of ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’, which truly set the tone. She rocked the stage in a stunning emerald green tulle dress to her hit singles ‘Feel Like Makin’ Love’, and ‘Never Leave You’.
Dru Hill gave us an adrenaline rush of nostalgia. The group have been together since the early 90s, back when they formed in high school, and it really showed in their evidence closeness and their impressive performance, bringing out hits like, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’, ‘In My Bed’, and ‘These Are The Times’. Dru Hill reminded us of that old school R’n’B is in its 25th anniversary, and that they are eligible of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was impressed by this as their music is still as catchy as ever. 25 years in the game and still killing it!
Jay Sean has come out with some catchy numbers such as, ‘Down’, ‘Do You Remember’, and ‘I’m All Yours’ that are in movies, radio and in the club. It was awesome to not only see him on stage, but to see him perform ‘Ride It’ which in recent years has been remixed and even blew up on TikTok, with a new generation enjoying his talent too. He really had the crowd jumping throughout his set and it was awesome to see that his songs are still loved today.
As always, Shaggy is an icon and he brought the R’n’B and Reggae fusion and fun to the show, effortlessly also having the ladies in the crowd wildly screaming in reaction to his Jamaican dance moves. When you think of R’n’B Fridays, Shaggy comes to mind, as it’s no R’n’B Friday without a bit of ‘Angel’, ‘Mr Boombastic’ and the fan favourite, ‘It Wasn’t Me’. Shaggy always puts on a good show and last night was no different.
Whenever I think of Ashanti, I always think of my childhood and the music I listened to. It wasn’t a Hip-Hop and R’n’B playlist without Ashanti. Seeing her perform live really brought back so many memories of some of her biggest chart toppers including ‘Happy’, ‘Mesmerize’, ‘Body On Me’ and the all-time crowd favourite ‘Unfoolish’. You could feel the entire arena singing along happily and word for word to it. Ashanti killed it not only with her vocals but with her stage presence and dance moves as well. It was also special for me, as someone who has been a fan for as long as I can remember, to hear that she recently got her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Her hard work and dedication has paid off, but Ashanti acknowledged and shared with the attentive crowd that her success wouldn’t have been possible without her fans.
Craig David has always been an RnB Fridays crowd pleaser and it was nice to see him step out from DJing to give fans that original flava we’ve all come to know and love. Craig David is another artist essential to an R’n’B playlist and he performed his numbers, ‘7 Days’, ‘Fill Me In’, and ‘What’s Your Flava?’ with an infectious smile and finesse.
Seeing Akon was such a highlight. With his performance, he even jumped into the crowd! I’m sure the patrons in the front row were overjoyed to get up close and personal with him. Akon has such an iconic sound that everyone loves and appreciates, and this was evident at the concert. Rod Laver Arena echoed with Akon’s top hits that had fans hooked from the early 2000s. Fan favourites were played including ‘Locked Up’, ‘Smack That’, and ‘Dangerous’.
Now, I’m not gonna lie, TLC is one of my all-time favourite groups. They’ve been doing their ‘Crazy, Sexy, Cool’ style since the get go and both T-Boz and Chilli served nothing but the best with both their vocal ability and great choreography. TLC have some of the most memorable songs from the 90s and early 2000s that are still popular today. You’ll still see kids bopping along to their tunes ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’, ‘Red Light Special’, ‘Unpretty’, ‘Creep’, and their iconic numbers, ‘No Scrubs’ and ‘Waterfalls’.
Macklemore’s finale was exactly what we needed to close out the incredible 8-hour event. Starting off with a surprise appearance from Australian music artist, Tones and I, the two performed their song ‘Chant’. We even got to see Eric Nally perform ‘Downtown’ with Macklemore.
There is something about Macklemore as an artist. He has a way of having fun with his music which we see in songs like ‘Thrift Shop’ and ‘Maniac’ but he also has a way of shedding light on other subjects in a more uplifting way with songs such as ‘Glorious’, ‘These Days’, and ‘Same Love’.
Macklemore’s band are also one of the coolest I’ve ever seen. Decked out in their matching green coloured outfits, it was so refreshing to see such a fun, positive vibe on stage and they radiated positive energy that you could feel throughout the venue. From this performance, I’m excited for Macklemore’s new album and the next time he returns to Australia already.
Looking around the venue, I could feel the vibe of the crowd that was overall happy, emotional, and it was clear that these songs that we heard that night had special meanings for everyone. Some songs that I heard even took me back to that very first moment I heard them. It’s always crazy to me the power that music has when it comes to your emotions. Some make you laugh, some make you cry, but well and truly – music brings people together.
I had such an amazing night at Fridayz Live watching some of my favourite artists and can’t wait for the next one.
Fridayz Live was held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on Friday the 4th of November, is on tonight in Perth, and makes its final stop in Sydney on the 12th of November.
For more information and ticketing, visit:
Photography by Michael Nguyen.