Hey, y’all! I know I’ve been MIA for a while. There’s been a lot going on this year, especially these past few weeks. One of the reasons for my being scarce is because I traveled to Las Vegas earlier this month to see my boys Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, collectively known as Silk Sonic!
Unless you’re a newbie to my blog—and if you are, welcome—you already know how much I love Bruno Mars. I’ve been wanting to see him perform live ever since his 24K Magic Tour in 2017. He made an appearance at Charlotte, NC that year, but the cheapest tickets were $250.00 a pop (and that was before the taxes and fees were added to the overall cost). This was pre-COVID, and back then I drove to and from my job in Columbia, SC every day, which sucked up a large chunk of my salary (Columbia is a little over an hour away from where I live). Between that, bills, food, and the money I was saving up to purchase my car, I couldn’t afford to splurge on Bruno. I regretfully missed that performance.
As time went on, Bruno formed the duo Silk Sonic with his homeboy, Anderson .Paak. Coincidentally, Bruno met Andy during the 2017 leg of the 24K Magic Tour; the same tour I missed out on years prior.
I already became a fan of Andy’s thanks to his tracks “Tints” and “‘Til It’s Over,” but after “Leave the Door Open” was released, I started listening to more of Andy’s solo work. It blew my mind just how talented Andy is, and how his music could be so deep, funky, and soothing (sometimes I come across a song of his that has all three characteristics in one). In no time flat, I ended up loving Andy just as much as Bruno.
When Silk Sonic announced their Vegas residency earlier this year, I figured I didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of seeing them. This time, Bruno wasn’t two hours away from me, he was across the country. The tickets were just as expensive as they were the last time, and I figured none of my friends would want to go (out of all my homies, I’m the biggest Bruno fan, and seeing as Andy was mostly an independent artist up until this point, I don’t even think they know who he is). My finances have somewhat improved over the past few years, but I concluded that my money was better spent on more practical items like a new bed frame and a new front bumper for my car.
However, after the announcement, I found myself fantasizing about seeing my boys onstage more and more, and one day, the subject came up while I was talking to my homegirl from college. I ended up admitting to her that I haven’t been to a concert since Ludacris came to Clemson back in Sept. 2002. That’s right, two-thousand-and-doggone-two. I was 21 at the time. Oh yeah, and I ended up going to that concert by my lonesome because all my friends had prior engagements. I still ended up having a ball, though.
My homegirl basically told me YOLO and advised me to throw caution to the wind. Besides, it had been damn near 20 years since I went to a concert, plus I had never been to Las Vegas and always wanted to go. I deserved to have some fun. So, I used every penny of my tax refund—and then some—to purchase a $400.00+ concert ticket (and that was for a nosebleed-ish seat and the pre-show reception, which I’ll touch on shortly), and to book a flight, condo, and rental car (which cost an additional $1,700.00). I was going to Las Vegas, and I was going to see Bruno and Andy by any means necessary.
On May 5, 2022, I traveled to Las Vegas for the very first time (the details of my fabulous trip are another story for another day). The concert was scheduled for May 7, 2022, two nights after my plane touched down in Sin City.
As you may have noticed, Silk Sonic is a group that’s heavily inspired by the look and sound of the 1970s, so when I went to see my boys, I wanted to embody the decade myself.
I found a dress that had a 70s influence (which was no easy feat, let me tell you…that’s another story for another time, too), got my fro straight and hooked myself up with some retro earrings, platform shoes, and some natural makeup. When I finally got my press on nails straight, I hopped in my awaiting Uber and headed to Park MGM/Dolby Live (by the end of the night, about six or seven of those doggone fake nails popped off).
Now, allow me to get the downsides of the night out of the way first, seeing as they had nothing to do with the actual performance. When I bought my tickets, I noticed there was an offer to partake in a pre-show reception where free drinks would be served. Despite the party being an extra $100.00, I jumped at the chance, because I figured I’d possibly see either Andy, Eric (Bruno’s brother/drummer), Kameron (Bruno’s backup singer/trombonist), or Jamareo (Bruno’s bass player). In case you’re wondering, I knew Bruno’s teeny self wasn’t gonna show up. Anyway, I came to the party fashionably late, so I had to hustle to it if I wanted to make it before they shut down shop. Remember, this party cost an extra $100.00, so I wasn’t trying to miss it.
Unfortunately, in trying to get to the pre-show party (which was all the way in Timbuktu, I might add… did I mention that I was wearing platform heels that night?), I missed out every last one of the souvenirs, including the picture I could’ve taken while sitting at the Silk Sonic lounge.
I figured that I could catch the vendors after the show. Wrong. Those jokers were packed up and out the do’ once the show was over. The other thing about the pre-show is that the SelvaRey cocktails were free (which was all I was concerned with, in all honesty), but all the other drinks and snacks came with a cost. To top it all off, there was nowhere to sit at the party (did I mention I had to walk to Timbuktu to get there and I had on platform heels?). Worse yet, by the time I chatted it up with a few other concertgoers, went to the little girls’ room, and came back, the party was over. I say all that to say this: if you’re going to a Silk Sonic concert with your loved ones or homies, go to the pre-show, just be sure to get to the venue early enough to actually stay at the party for a decent amount of time as well as buy the souvenirs you want (and be sure to try the “Paaks-a-Punch” cocktail. I heard it was fire). However, if you’re at the concert alone—like I was—skip the pre-show altogether and save your money for the concert memorabilia.
After the concert, there was an after party going on at On the Record, a club attached to the Park MGM casino. Andy was supposed to be there after the show to spin records, and he showed up…sometime after I left. Again, when I made it to On the Record (by this time, my feet ached so badly I felt like they were about to fall off; thank God for the girl that was nice enough to let me get in line with her and her friends), all the couples were dancing with each other, and the groups of friends were chillin’ together, and I didn’t have anyone. Plus, my feet hurt too damn bad to dance to anything. I got a little drunk that night (thanks, SelvaRey!), but all the liquor in the world couldn’t ease the daggers shooting through my feet, and with no Andy around, or anyone to really talk to, my time at the afterparty was just…meh. I ended up leaving after about an hour or so. It’s just my luck that Andy appeared after I made my exit. The same rule applies for the afterparty: if you’re there with a lover or your friends, stay. Just be sure to have some comfortable shoes on standby. If you’re there alone, skip it, unless you’re determined to see Andy or any other celebs. On a side note, the week after I left Vegas, Bruno, Andy, Janet Jackson, Ashanti, and Usher all showed up for the afterparty! Man, I would’ve love to have seen that! So with that being said, if you want to get a glimpse of any stars while you’re at the party, sit tight and be patient. Also, be sure to get there before midnight. They charge a cover if you show up after 12:00 AM.
And one more thing…if you opt to have your tickets mailed in, and they don’t arrive in time (for some reason, this is a common occurrence with Ticketmaster), request the mobile tickets. Apparently, they’ll still get sent in the mail to you, and there’s a chance you may receive the badass tickets, but as souvenirs only (the physical versions themselves will just be worthless as far as the box office is concerned). After waiting an entire month and half for my tickets to arrive, I chose to pick up the tickets at Will Call because I wanted to make sure I’d have my sleek looking physical copies, so you can imagine my disappointment when the woman at the box office placed generic looking concert tickets in my hand. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still keeping those tix for the rest of my life, but I would’ve loved to have those badass laminated looking tickets that everyone else has been showing off. I’ve since heard that some people that requested mobile tickets only received regular paper ones in the mail, but at least there’s a 50/50 chance of getting the laminated copies. If you opt for Will Call, you’ll get the paper copies for sure.
Now on to the good stuff…the concert itself. Before the show even began, Andy and Bruno gave the audience a masterclass in old school R&B. Songs from the ’70s and ’80s could be heard over the speakers, and they played a few tracks that I never heard the original versions of. One example of this is Kool and the Gang’s “Soul Vibrations.” Before that night, I’d only heard this music sampled on Joe Budden’s “Pump It Up.” Don’t judge me.
After waiting about an hour (if I had known then what I know now, I would’ve gone back downstairs to get some doggone souvenirs), and having a slight altercation with a Karen for what I believed to be my seat (turns out I was the one in the wrong section, but the entitled way she demanded me to switch seats was just rude…again, that’s another story for another day), I remember finally saying, “Okay…I’m ready to see Bruno and Andy!” The folks in the neighboring seats laughed and agreed, and as if it were on cue, we started seeing dry ice exiting the from behind the stage curtain. The fellas must’ve heard us, because a few minutes later, we heard music…live music.
First it was the drums, then the horns. The lights dimmed and the curtain rose, and I saw a curly haired figure playing the bongos with expert precision. “I think that’s Bruno!” I shouted.
The stage lights came on, the cameras centered on him…and there he was. The man I love.
“It is! It is Bruno!” I shrieked. God, he was so fine.
Then I looked opposite Bruno and saw my other sweetheart…Andy. Tall and lanky, donning his now-infamous Ike Turner-esque wig and flashing his killer smile, playing the drums as only he can. Together, they performed a kick-ass live version of the Silk Sonic Intro. Bootsy’s part played over the speakers, and they showed a graphic of him on the monitors, but he wasn’t actually there with the fellas.
Once the intro was finished, Bruno and Andy launched into their ode to Las Vegas, “777,” and we started jammin’!
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, Bruno HATES cameras at his shows, and with all his Vegas residencies, he’s made certain that the concert goers enjoy the experience instead of spending the entire 90 min. run recording the performance. With that being said, I can’t post any videos from my actual night at the concert because the MGM attendants made sure to lock our phones away once we received our tickets. Hell, I couldn’t even take pictures of the pre-show reception.
However, while writing this post, I happened to find out that one brave soul managed to record Bruno and Andy mocking us for not having our phones, and the recording was from the very night that I was there!
That’s right, “We Took Your Phones Away” was the third song in the setlist. I wasn’t offended, though (I’m sure the gentleman in the Karen crew was pissed; he said as much before the show even started). Not only was the song slammin’, but Bruno and Andy had me crackin’ up with their antics, especially at the end, “That’s why…we took yo’ bitch-ass phones away!”
The next songs on the setlist were “Love’s Train” and a soulful version of “That’s What I Like” (the fellas used Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love” as the background music for “That’s What I Like.” Man, it was hot). Seeing “Love’s Train” performed live for the very first time sent me. I just about died when I saw the fellas do that dance on the second verse, and I found myself freaking out again a week later when I saw them do the same move at the Billboard Music Awards.
Towards the end of the performance, Bruno hit that high note, and I noticed the spotlight center on him at that very moment. Brillant, in every sense of the word.
Next, the fellas performed “Am I Wrong” and “Treasure,” both solo works from Andy and Bruno’s Malibu and Unorthodox Jukebox albums, respectively. By the way, I could low key tell that the lady I was sitting beside wasn’t as familiar with Andy’s solo work as she was Bruno’s. Whenever Bruno did a solo song, she’d get up and jam and sing all the words to it, but when Andy performed one of his solo tracks, she’d dance along a little bit (usually in her seat) and not sing any of the lyrics. Me, on the other hand, I was dancin’ so hard I was accidentally hitting a poor lady in the back of the head with my purse (unbeknownst to me, of course. She called it to my attention). My sincerest apologies again, madame. ❤️
There was a point in time where Bruno and Andy decided to sing to some of the girls in the audience during “Treasure,” and of course, they had to one up each other. Bruno had a look of pure annoyance on his face when Andy tried to outdo him. I was rollin’! I can’t with those two fools.
After Maurice Brown, the trumpet player, played a solo and did a call and response with the audience (which was a bit reminiscent of Philip Bailey’s call and response during the live version of Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “Reasons”), the fellas returned with a change of clothes and performed “Fly as Me,” where Andy showed up and showed out. Next, the fellas did “Smokin Out the Window” (I went hard on the “this bitch” lines) and “Put on a Smile.” I especially loved the “Put on a Smile” performance. The two of them lamenting over their lost love on the park bench was a nice touch (unlike the photo, they were sitting back-to-back on the bench), and I loved hearing Bruno hit that signature note toward the end of the song (I don’t remember the spotlight falling on him for during this particular song, though). What really got me is after Bruno hit his high note, he and Andy sang an ad-lib before falling out crying! Andy especially had to make a show out of it because he ran into Kameron’s arms, allowing the latter to hold him up, because his legs no longer worked. I can’t with these two fools. 😂😂
The fellas then launched into one of my favorite tracks from An Evening With Silk Sonic, “After Last Night.” Bruno and Andy gave another flawless performance—of course—with Bruno performing a kickass guitar solo midway through the song and Andy following it up with a drum solo. What really impressed me was the way the lights were set up. It was almost as if they were coming straight at us. At the risk of sounding like a super nerd, I have to give it up to whoever the lighting director was. He did the damn thing! By the way, I was wondering if Thundercat would show up to lay down his backing vocals, but he didn’t. All the guest celebs seemed to show up the next week (doggone it).
Bruno and Andy each gave us another solo effort, with a slight switch up. Andy did “Come Down” (I was hard down jammin’ on this one, and the lady beside me bobbed her head) while Bruno accompanied the song by playing drums, and Andy hopped on the kit when Bruno did “Runaway Baby.” What had me crackin’ up was when Bruno suggested that they each play drums for the songs featured on their “debut” albums. All Anderson .Paak fans know that “Come Down” is from Andy’s Malibu project, which is one of his most successful and critically acclaimed albums…but not his first. Andy’s first album is actually Venice. Andy needs to whup Bruno for that. 😂😂
Another thing that had me dyin’ was when Andy moved his hips every time he sang the hook for “Come Down” and the camera focused in on his ass. In the words of Steve Harvey, I can see why Andy and Bruno are such good friends. Stupid just finds each other.
We were blessed with one more intermission, this time with Bruno’s guitarist, Mateus Asato, playing a killer guitar solo of “Pure Imagination.” I have to say, ever since Bruno’s original guitarist, Phredley Brown, left The Hooligans, I missed him. However, Mateus tore that solo up, and it left me astounded. I still miss seeing Phred, but I wholeheartedly welcome Mateus into The Hooligan family. After Mateus finished “Pure Imagination,” the fellas returned for their “finale,” “Blast Off.” This time, Andy returned to the drum kit while Bruno played the keys. My favorite part of “Blast Off” is the ending, and I found myself getting giddy when they reached it. The way the fellas conclude the song just sends you into outer space, and the way they performed it that night was no different.
Then Bruno and Andy “ended” the show with introductions to everyone in the band as well as themselves (I loved how Andy told the audience that Bruno was his best friend and his brother!), but I wasn’t fooled. True Hooligans know how Bruno operates.
The lady sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder and said, “They didn’t do ‘Leave the Door Open!'”
“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “Bruno does this okey-doke all the time. They’re coming back for one last song.”
Again, as if on cue, Andy’s voice could be heard behind the now lowered curtain, asking us if we wanted to hear one more song. Of course we did, and Bruno and Andy came back out to perform “Leave the Door Open.” Oh yeah, Andy had to fall out crying near the end of this song, too. I swear that man is a fool!
The fellas gave their final goodbyes, closed the curtain, and showered the audience with confetti, letting it be known that the show was over…for real. My ears were ringing, and my feet ached…but I couldn’t have been happier. All I wanted at that moment was more Bruno and Andy.
If you’re a fan of Bruno’s, Andy’s, if you love the Silk Sonic collab, or if you miss the vibe from old school music and/or the musicianship of artists playing live instruments, you have to see this concert. We’ve witnessed these men’s talents before, but seeing it live is an experience, especially when you watch Bruno dance across the stage. His love for performing just oozes with each note and body movement. I was entertained and overwhelmed the entire 90 min. run. It made my near 20 yr. drought from concerts well worth it.
Silk Sonic’s spring residency ended this past weekend (May 28, 2022 was their last show), but thankfully, the fellas will return to Vegas again in August! Will I go back again? I don’t think I’ll be seeing my boys again this year (too costly…plus I’m thinking of attending the Clemson vs. Carolina game this year, which is pretty pricey in itself), but I definitely plan on seeing them again sometime in the future, and I’m certainly going back to Las Vegas one day!
—Written by Nadiya
P.S.: Drink SelvaRey (and get drunk)!
Have you seen a show from the Silk Sonic residency yet? What did you think about it? What was your favorite performance? What was your least favorite thing about it? Will you try to see Bruno or Andy in concert again? Did you go to the pre-show reception or afterparty? What did you think of them? If you haven’t gone, do you want to? Do you plan on going to one of the shows this coming August? Do you agree that Bruno and Andy taking away the fans’ phones keeps them more in the moment, or would you rather have your phone to commemorate the event? Let me know in the comments section!