DETROIT -- Intimacy can mean a lot of things, although usually one thing within the strictures of R&B music.
But Kem's Intimacy Tour had its own connection with the word when it came home Friday night to the Fox Theatre.
More than anything it was a relaxed and, yes, intimate night for the Detroit R&B singer. He was amongst friends and family, and it showed in the relaxed, chatty atmosphere of his 13-song, 85-minute show. Charismatic and dapper in a gray suit and matching fedora, Kem played it comical and poignant, smooth and warm and inoffensively sexy. He was clearly at ease and in good voice, which made for nothing less than an entertaining and engaging evening.
Kem also benefited from the depth of having three albums' worth of music to draw from with the addition of material from last year's "Intimacy: Album III." The bulk of the show, in fact, drew from that set, including the Grammy Award-nominated "Why Would You Stay," which featured Kem on piano, and "If It's Love," for which he was joined by Ledisi, one of his two opening acts (Musiq Soulchild was the other). And there were moments of brimming optimism in songs such as the show-opening "You're On My Mind," "Love Never Fails," "Share My Life" and "Golden Days."
Kem didn't ignore "Intimacy's" predecessors, either, as he worked his way through favorites such as "Love Calls" and the socially commentary "Brotha Man," which was bolstered by images of the homeless. A fierce rendition of "True Love" featured a muted trumpet solo by Rayse Biggs, "Find Your Way (Back in My Life)" vamped into a buoyant audience call-and-response on "Find Your Way (Back in My Life)" and the K.C. & the Sunshine Band-sampling "I Get Lifted" closed the concert on a high note.
Kem returns to the Fox again on April 10, with Fantasia opening. Tickets are $30.50-$88. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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