What more could I ask for on a sunny Sunday afternoon than a bunch of Mariah Carey performances to watch and review!! Seriously, I love me some Mariah!
Sounding in better form, vocally, than her last live set in Austria [here], Mariah Carey graced the Mawazine Festival in Morocco with her presence and hefty back catalogue in a one off concert for the Moroccan people.
Below are the performances, as well as my views on them. I'd love to hear what you guys thought in the comments!
NOTE: Anyone who suffers from sea sickness might prefer to listen to the audio, oppose to watching the clips. The camera does get pretty vomit inducing with a constant "swaying" motion when its panned out from the stage. You have been warned!!
It's Like That
"If you're filming please try to get the good angle". Got to love Mariah Carey and her audience interaction. The raspy edge to her belt was really noticeable here, but worked really with the song. She was clearly enjoying her time back on stage.
Probably the weakest performance of the set, was blatant problems with the playback. There was some nice use of her head voice at 4.25 but overall a forgettable rendition of Honey.
Shake It Off
Mariah turns stand up comedian again, lamenting her "pain"at other singers copying her shiny microphone stand. The performance itself was nice enough.
This performance showed two things. Firstly how Mariah is becoming more and more comfortable, and at home, being on stage, aptly illustrated by her dialogue with the audience. And secondly also how strong and easily accessible her lower range is. I wonder if her voice will continue to go south as she ages.
Love Hangover / Heartbreaker (medley)
Mariah having fun with the melody of Heartbreaker and working the stage like a Supermodel working a runway. Though I would have loved for her to have sung a Donna Summer song, it was nice that Mariah gave the recently deceased star a mention during the disco infused medley.
Always Be My Baby
Probably my favourite performance of the song since she's started singing it again in recent years. Loved how she drifted between her airy and solid timbre during the melisma in the verses. Her fitness regime really seems to be working, as Mariah was running around at the end and not showing signs of breathlessness! This will only help her ability to hit and maintain those notes.
We Belong Together
Loved this performance and the switched up vocal during its coda. This performance was fully live, I think (though the double voice at 3.15 might lead a more sceptical listener to think they've recorded a new ending to the song). If it was fully live then its a feat not seen since her first performance of We Belong Together at BET Blue Print in 2005 [here].
Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)
A fan favourite that Mariah hasn't sung in a while, so I was surprised when it turned up on this set-list! 3.20 and 4.10 were definitely lipped as somebody screwed up the levels on the playback, meaning it was noticeably lower than the microphone volume.
Touch My Body
Mariah gave the crowd a cute little Arabic (I assume) ditty, while her earpiece was fixed. Really did the trick waking them up! The impromptu intro to the song and the little a capella she performed at the end to test the monitor was unfortunately more exciting than the performance itself. I did like how she attempted the big notes here, so props to Mrs Carey- Cannon for that!
Another song, in addition to Touch My Body, which has too much backing to translate well into a live setting. Yep, there was playback at the end.
I'll Be There
The way Mariah and Trey Lorenz riffed and bounced off of each other was really nice. The chemistry is still as strong- if not stronger- as it was all those years ago when they first performed the Jackson 5 Classic I'll Be There during her MTV Unplugged set [watch here].
Underneath The Stars
Fan favourite, and clearly one of Mariah's too, if her opening monologue is anything to go by. What I got most from this performance was that her "whisper" register is sounding fuller and stronger, if a little harder to navigate. The raspy and coarser edge to her belt at 4.39 sounded great, but its starting to confirm my feelings that a C5 is becoming the top of her comfortable belting range.
Showcasing the strength of her midrange here and sounding almost exactly like she did in the 90's! The sustained, and controlled belt at the bridge was encouraging, as was the application of her beautiful vibrato! This sounded fully live to me.
Without You / Butterfly Outro
This was a confusing performance, with strange things going on with the vocals. Though it sounded great, there were weird discrepancies with the sound produced- notice the jolt to the vocal at 3.00 and audible double Mariah voices going on. Was very odd.
Conclusion: I can't knock a girl when she's giving me what I've always wanted from her : less robot-like, recorded renditions, and instead a more human, fun and looser style that showcases her musicality. As such this has been my favourite concert of recent years from Mariah. If she continue with the improvement and growth she's demonstrated between recent performances, then by the time her next CD comes out Mariah Carey will be in fine vocal form to school this new era of Divas.