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August 23, 2007

Chaka Khan, Tank, Angie Stone, Chrisette Michele, taragirl @ Unity Day, Philadephia - 8/19


Unity Day in Philadelphia is a huge event. With a stage set up on the steps of the art museum, the party draws hundreds of thousands. This year, relentless rain left everyone wet, but not disappointed as numerous soul music stars hit the stage for the WDAS-sponsored concert. Once you found a good dry spot and some support for your umbrella, all you had to do was watch the excitement unfold on stage. And if you heard your jam, getting a little wet suddenly didn’t matter. This was the case for many spectators as performers taragirl, Ledisi, Lady Alma, Chrisette Michele, Angie Stone, Bill Holly’s Hard Drive, Tank, and headliner Chaka Khan hit all the right notes…


Before a single established star hit the stage at Unity Day, an up-and-coming unsigned singer named taragirl (lowercase ‘t’) rocked the stage. Her 20-minute set included smashing renditions of Kiki Sheard’s urban gospel song ‘You Don’t Know’ and Whitney Houston’s ‘Queen of the Night.’ Along with those were cuts from her independent debut The 26th Power. By the time she closed with the classic ‘As We Lay,’ the audience was completely taken by the singer’s powerhouse vocals and presence. A friend of mine, it was incredibly exciting to see her wow yet another crowd. Look out for this one if you haven’t heard her!


Pictured: taragirl along with her DJ and background singer.



When Def Jam artist Chrisette Michele and crew hit the stage, they were seasoned and confident, ready to bring their soulful and energetic vibes. Chrisette is a definite artist to watch with her jazzy voice and eloquent songwriting. I actually spoke to Musiq Soulchild last week and he expressed that he asked Chrisette to open his tour because of the special ability she possesses. Before she actually sung a single solo note, she was featured on singles by Jay-Z and Nas (talk about an effective cosign). You get the sense that this singer is still finding herself but can still more than hold it down solo. Check out her debut album I Am if you haven’t already, or better yet, catch her live on tour now with Musiq.



Performers Chrisette Michele and taragirl meet backstage.  The rain didn’t stop me from socializing lol.  And later, I met Chaka Khan too!


Angie Stone was one of my favorite performers of the day. Never one to oversing, her hefty voice tells a woman’s story with serious conviction. The highlights included her great new single ‘Baby’ which she opened with, as well as past hits like the beautiful ‘No More Rain’ and ‘Everyday.’ Angie’s neo-soul is never boring but always sassy. After representing for the ladies on a few songs, her attention turned to the men on ‘Brotha,’ a song celebrating brothers of every walk of life. That was a truly great moment and she even won crowd participation when she requested all the gentlemen twirl their umbrellas (hey, sometimes you just gotta make it work lol).

Surprisingly, Angie closed with her dance hit ‘I Wish I Didn’t Miss You Anymore.’ I must say it was a great choice because even though it’s a slight departure, it’s a catchy song that brings great energy. I’m definitely looking forward to Angie Stone’s new album The Art of Love and War!




Initially, I was curious as to why Tank got top billing over Angie Stone, but the moment the night’s host Steve Harvey mentioned his name, I got the picture. Hordes of female fans rushed the stage, coming in from every which direction. Tank is a singer who’s made hits for others behind the scenes (as well as a few for himself), but you can forget what a capable singer he really is. In this performance, it was clear. Even over the screams of his fans, you could feel the passion from songs like ‘Maybe I Deserve’ and his latest ‘Please Don’t Go.’ The only limitation faced by this artist is a lack of agility in the tempo department. His sparse baby making music can melt together at times leaving you feeling a bit bored, but all it takes is some crowd swooning to rev his show right back up.



Unity Day performer taragirl, along with Michael Nutter, the Democratic Primary winner and next likely mayor of Philadelphia.


I finally got a chance to be in one of my snapshots, yay! I like how only my right shoulder is wet.



After a handful of great performances, a legend made her way to the stage. Chaka Khan’s brand of R&B is one with a funkiness unlike the cookie cutter mainstream most are used to. Exemplifying this edginess was a funky portion of the show that was capped by ‘Tell Me Something Good.’ Don’t get it wrong… Chaka can slow things down just as effectively. On songs like ‘Sweet Thing’ and 'My Funny Valentine,' Miss Khan definitely let her soul glow. I have a great deal of respect for her catalog and now even more respect for how she can hold things down in the rain!

With an upper register that could shatter glass as easily as it moves your soul, Chaka Khan has an emotion many imitate but few singers truly vocally possess. Her introduction by Steve Harvey this night as one of the greatest R&B females ever known was proven to be fitting by the end of her substantial and consistently pleasing set.



Chaka's passionate backing singers each got a chance to interpret one of her hits in a vocal riff-a-thon.  The singers held their own while complimenting the soulstress impeccably.


As the remnants of sunshine faded into the night, the show only got hotter with the anthemic ‘Through the Fire.’ As Chaka introduced the song, she candidly spoke to the audience about how it is her ‘testimony’ and about her running away at 16 from Chicago to L.A., signing her first record deal at 17. From there, she continued the theme with the smooth mid-tempo  ‘Hollywood.’

Deep into her set, Chaka introduced a new song from her upcoming album Funk This. The track ‘Angel’ is actually currently her first solo single to chart on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in more than ten years! There’s no doubt the singer remains revered and relavant. The peak of energy came with the finale, when ‘I’m Every Woman’ brought umbrellas down and the crowd to their feet. Funk with that!

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oh that's cooool! I swear you have the best concert coverage there is... i'm sure this was a long one too lol, thanks for sticking in there and sharing

one love


Damn Chrisette Michele looks good!

This is another great review. A variety of artists singing their hearts out in the rain. So lets see, so far you've gotten to see Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin. So who's next, Diana Ross, Tina Turner?
Keep it up the great reviews and if you go on the Musiq tour, try to get me Chrisette Michele's number. lol

Kaliyma Johnson

This year is my second year in the city of brotherly love, but it was my first time hearing about Unity Day. As an up and coming artist myself I look forward to participating in this event next year. Keep up the great work!!!!


Great coverage of the event!
What a line up - so nice to see so many dynamic female artists on the bill - woooh :) Angie, Chaka, Chrisette?!! I'll be sure to look out for new artist taragirl too... Keep up the great work.


You get in on ALL the action, Jon! What a great recap. You should do this for a living.

Great seeing our girl, Taragirl!

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