Robin Thicke Arena Theatre February 12, 2011
Is describing a show as an aural roofie politically incorrect? Because Saturday night's Robin Thicke show at the Arena Theatre seemed to put all the women in the crowd into a sexy soul-fog with a syrupy thicke-ness. We even stocked up on some pregnancy tests for ourselves later on this week, because he may have gotten our ears pregnant.
Robin Thicke can be best described as R. Kelly's sleazy white counterpart, or better yet, an X-Rated Justin Timberlake who would rather take you in a bathroom stall than wait for sexy to come back. Thicke also has an air of old-school jet-setting bachelorism about him, in spite of being married to bombshell Precious actress Paula Patton for going on six years.
The venue was thick, OK, teeming, with couples partaking in their pre-Valentine's nights out, with most guys no doubt dragged to the Arena out of pure devotion and promises of returned favors. But Thicke shouldn't just be for the womens; he's a great showman, even if most of that involves coming to the lip of the stage so women could grab his wedding tackle or stick their faces in his crotch.
He's an adept performer on piano and blessed with a creamy falsetto that is practically lady-bait.
Opening with "Magic", the man laid to waste his assembled crowd. Mixing that suave swagger, clothed in a sharp suit and tie, he was on point from cut one. The parade of women to the stage started soon after, reaching an early apex during "Shakin' It 4 Daddy" from 2009's Sex Therapy, which featured on record an early guest spot from newly-crowned R&B queen Nicki Minaj.
Thicke's "Cocaine" isn't quite the JJ Cale-cum-Clapton version, but an ode to the powder just to the same. It could have come from a Curtis Mayfield album, or at least been on a really underrated David Bowie LP. The allegories between women and cocaine are more than evident on the cut from 2006's The Evolution of Robin Thicke.
The sex and grind were tempered with a few piano-led spiritual blasts from Thicke and his band, including "Complicated," "Angels" and "2 The Sky" which ventured into John Legend territory. They were good detours, and awesomely creepy coming around straight-up bedroom jams.
Well, God did create sex, so what's the fuss? It's actually better than most things he ever laid a hand on.
The covers came buried and varied in the set, with Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" coming midway through the night, and a snaky stab at Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" sending us home, or to "bed" as it were.
The setlist was a great mix of all three of his albums, even dipping into work from Thicke's 2003 debut, A Beautiful World. The Evolution and Sex Therapy had the strongest legs live, though.
Therapy is a cool album, with the naughty-doctor theme going over well with the MD fetishists in Saturday's crowd. Something about medical/sex lingo is universally arousing to the female people. Thicke has a great band behind him too, able to move with his wandering falsetto when they need to.
Just peed on a stick in the bathroom. It was negative. Sigh.
Personal Bias: For some reason, really suave, filthy R&B seems to be our Achilles Heel. Usher, R. Kelly, and even Clarence Carter are our dirty pleasures. We weren't too familiar with Thicke before Saturday night, aside from the basics of his family lineage, but by the end we were into him. Not enough to storm the stage and give him a hernia check, but a fan nonetheless.
The Crowd: It was a lot of couples' obligatory Valentine's Day date night, with the greeting-card holiday falling on a sexless Monday this year. Plenty of scantily dressed girls were carousing in groups, couples were canoodling, and Aftermath sat in the corner eating popcorn and getting butter on our cellphone.
Overheard In the Crowd: We overheard lots of couples making plans to leave early. "It's almost over, let's get out of here," followed by snickers and giggles. Remember folks, Thicke deserves a shout-out on the birth certificate.
Random Notebook Dump: Why do people leave before an encore at concert? Oh... because SEX.
SEX SET LIST
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.