Alicia Keys' latest album, Girl on Fire, is in stores now and last night the pianist proved why her career is still aflame after over a decade since her debut album. At the iHeartRadio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son, the Clive Davis protégé belted out an hour set of her most famous hits and songs from Girl on Fire.
In great voice and looking spectacular — bearing an uncanny resemblance to Lena Horne — Keys opened with "New Day," which was produced by Dr. Dre and her husband, Swizz Beatz, who was just off stage watching his wife through the full set. She also sang “Brand New Me,” “Listen to Your Heart” and the title track. But fans didn't just get the new tracks, she took the audience on a journey with hits like "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart," "Karma," "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" and a reggae version of “You Don’t Know My Name.”
The performance comes a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy devastated New York. Keys, who is originally from the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan, offered her condolences to all of those affected by the storm. Before going into "Empire State of Mind," which she originally recorded with Jay-Z, Keys said, "This is dedicated to all my New York survivors!" There is no other song that will get New York out of depression than the Big Apple anthem.
Keys is recognized for being a pianist, but last night she showcased her vocal chops. The songstress is known to strain (in a rock 'n' roll way) in her higher register, however, at the iHeartRadio Theater her voice was smooth, powerful and more mature. Maybe it is being a wife and mother, but Keys appears to have remastered her craft. For example, when she ripped into "Fallin'," her first single and number-one hit, the song was cranked up to a level 10 with bluesy-type wails. But there was a smooth strength in her singing and when she effortlessly went for the high notes, Miss Keys made the crowd holler like they were at church.
The best moment of the night was Mama Alicia bringing her son Egypt on stage while singing the 2007 smash "No One." She sang directly to Egypt as he bounced along with his mother, the crowd melted, especially when her little man said into the mic, "I love you."
Keys closed with a riveting song from the new album "Not Even the King" and transitioned into her power ballad "I Ain't Got You." Grateful and humble, Keys respectfully returned to her New York City roots, proving why the girl consistently remains on fire.
Girl on Fire is in stores now.
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(Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)