Friday I went to the Paramount Theater in Oakland with some friends to see Youssou Ndour and Angelique Kidjo. Wow, what a GREAT show!! Kidjo did an amazing job of warming up the crowd, and (of course!) she encouraged everyone to get up and dance, and to come down to the stage.
Those of you that know the Paramount, a beautifully refurbished Art Deco theater in downtown Oakland, are probably saying, ‘Uh-oh!’ – because you know how ridiculously anal the security staff is there. They were caught off guard by the crowd’s swift reaction to Kidjo’s invitation to come down front and get with the groove. But they made up for it by picking on individual people to verbally harass and physically intimidate back to their seats!
And when is the last time you saw people sitting at a concert, enjoying the vibe, when ushers suddenly start sweeping the rows with flashlights, blinding people? Say, what??
– So, what IS it with the Paramount?
However, Kidjo and Ndour helped us all rise above the hostile treatment by Paramount staff, and Ndour’s final encore, a beautiful interpretation of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song was a fitting end to the evening.
Can’t wait to see Kidjo and Ndour again – just hope they are playing somewhere OTHER than the Paramount!