Thursday 18 January 2018


"I have you to thank for my hangover today." Uh oh. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we broke Usher. Dude touched down in Dublin a day early, you know. For the Guinness, like.

But fear not, our man in the leather jacket is a professional. God love him, he even wishes us a belated Happy St. Patrick's Day, and tries his hand at the cupla focail.

It ends badly.

"I guess I don't have the luck of the Irish," announces Usher, the sweat only pouring out of him.

Indeed, Usher Terry Raymond IV loves to dance. The ladies, too, love to see Usher dance (this bloke's hips could start a riot). But what the heck are all those fancy movements about?

Jaypers, there are times when it looks like Usher is attempting to climb out of an imaginary cupboard.


Maybe he's just trying to find his car keys. Either way, it's a tad disconcerting; the one-time American prince of smooth 'n' slick R&B ensuring that the first segment of 'The UR Experience' resembles more of a crazed work-out video than an actual concert.

Choreographed and produced within an inch of its life, URX (the Twitter-friendly title) also finds the 36-year-old toying with the hits. Seven albums in (and with an eighth on the way), it's to be expected.

Usher isn't nearly the draw he used to be - he might as well don some questionable headgear, make like Michael Jackson on fizzy drinks and rework the catalogue.

It says a lot, though, that the best part of the show arrives when Usher cools his jets and loosens up. Keeping things organic, and welcoming a brass section to the mix, he and his merry boys and girls get on up to get on down with the marvellous Twisted and the infectious Caught Up.

Later, Usher dusts off his chart-topping break-up anthem, Burn. The instrumentation is real; the delivery, nothing short of immaculate.

See, the chap doesn't always have to flaunt so hard. We don't need the gold microphones. We don't need a DJ spinning a medley of forgotten singles.

The electronics, we could do without - and go easy on the air grabs and knee-slides, mate. What we have here is a riveting entertainer and showman. A gifted vocalist, too. Give him room to breathe and Usher is up there with the best of 'em.

Admirably, he also shines the spotlight on a star-struck fan near the front, doing his best to explain some of his more risqué material to the youngster (the Usher PG lyric lesson is hilarious).

Oh, and Usher also takes a minute to show off his drumming skills (is there no end to this man's talents?).

Sure, there's a whole lotta dance-pop madness towards the end (party favourite Scream blows the roof off), but we know which version of the bloke we prefer.

He might want to rethink that raccoon fur-tail hat of his, though.



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