Soul Diva Erykah Badu at Pori Jazz Festival: “It Means That You Were Sucking My Titty Too”

Erykah Badu performing at the Pori Jazz Festival at the Kirjurinluoto Concert Park in Pori, Finland on July 15, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A wire had to be changed. Three guys were working on the electric hand drum to sound perfect for Erykah Badu, 46, the American “queen” of neo soul, a subgenre influenced by soul, jazz, R&B and, well . . . most black music.

Finally, the sound was acceptable, and her live band began jamming. After about half an hour into her scheduled playtime, Badu strolled to the stage slowly, her dark hair hanging straight over the shoulders, wearing a long, pale jacket with a matching, tall hat. No smile on her face.

The audience of thousands screamed while pushing closer together at the Kirjurinluoto Concert Park, at the main stage of the Pori Jazz Festival on Saturday evening.

She opened with weird, woozy and slow “Hello,” . . . “famous” from a mixtape in 2015.

Badu charmed the audience with her voice but lacked consistency in her performance. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Badu controlled the stage with her raspy, unique voice that has inspired generations of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but shifted her focus from the beginning on hallucinated versions of less interesting songs such as “Out My Mind, Just in Time.”

It’s been seven years since Badu’s previous album came out.

“Where my ‘80s babies at?” she asked the audience.

Screams echoed.

“Where my ‘90s babies at?” “I wrote Baduizm mostly for the ‘90s babies.”

It’s the 20th jubilee year of Baduizm, her debut released in 1997, from which she received a Grammy award. Badu reminded the younger listeners crowding the front of the stage that they had grown up listening to Baduizm in their mothers’ wombs. Ingesting her music like breast milk. “That means you were sucking my titty, too,” Badu said, while younger men nodded happily.

She was quick to perform one of her most popular and catchiest songs from her debut: “Appletree.” She also played some parts of “On & On.”

Sadly, she didn’t follow up with the same consistency as she continued with songs like “I Want You” from her third album, Worldwide Underground. Badu continued to the end with the same inconsistent grip.

Many good songs were left unheard not only from her debut but from her latest efforts as well.

For example, “Soldier” from New Amerykah Part One (2008), a real headbanger, crowd-thriller and mood lifter, was completely ignored by Badu, which surely didn’t please the fans.

She hardly even touched those electronic hand drums.

Badu walked off the stage while leaving the crowd hungry. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

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