Brandy at the Rosemont Theatre

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
July 7, 1999

“This is my first major singing . . . tour thing,” Brandy said midway through her set Tuesday night at the Rosemont Theatre. “It’s also the last night of my tour . . . and all my dreams have come true.”

And what a fun way to end the tour. Backed by seven dancers, a six-piece band and four backup singers, the 20-year-old singer/actress strutted on stage in a pink jumpsuit. With all the perfectly timed explosions going off onstage, it almost seemed like the Fourth of July celebration hadn’t actually ended on Sunday.

It may seem strange that this tour for her year-old album “Never S-A-Y Never” is her first, but give the girl a break. She’s been busy.

Check out the history:

Driven by the hit singles “Baby,” “I Wanna Be Down” and “Brokenhearted,” Brandy’s self-titled 1994 debut album sold more than 4 million copies. She was not yet 15.

In 1995, her song “Sittin’ up in My Room” from the “Waiting to Exhale” soundtrack sold more than a million copies.

Whitney Houston handpicked her to star in the ABC made-for-TV movie “Cinderella.” It was the network’s highest rated program in 13 years, drawing more than 60 million viewers.

She co-wrote the Grammy-winning “The Boy is Mine,” which she sang with Monica. The song spent an impressive 13 weeks at the top of Billboard’s singles chart last year and was a staple with mall rats everywhere.

Oh yeah, and in her spare time she starred in her own UPN series “Moesha,” played one of the hapless teens in the horror film “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” and out diva-ed co-star Diana Ross in the made-for-TV movie “Double Platinum” by tackling duties as an executive producer.

Despite all her success in other arenas, Brandy had spoken in the past of being nervous about touring. Yet if Tuesday’s show was any indication, she had nothing to worry about. She gamely kept up with the other dancers during the fancy footwork sessions. But she truly came alive when, unencumbered by choreography, she got to sink her teeth into the lush ballads such as “Have You Ever?” and “Almost Doesn’t Count.”

When she appeared on a recent “Divas Live” special on VH-1, some critics remarked that hers was a voice that didn’t belong to a true diva. And while it’s true that her almost delicate vocals can’t yet compete with powerhouses such as Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin or Celine Dion, Brandy possesses a girlish charm that helps sell her songs.

Brandy is a testament to how far determination will get you. Once told by a teacher that she wasn’t attractive enough to be sent out on auditions, the teenage entertainer refused to let someone else determine her future. She’s got the last laugh now, as a model for Cover Girl and Candie’s shoes.

But while she may wear designer clothing and grace the covers of magazines, Brandy still retains a wholesome quality that makes her act palatable for the entire family. Even when her dancers stripped off her jumpsuit, she was wearing a pair of white trousers and a matching cropped halter top that didn’t reveal too much – with flat shoes.

Of the three opening acts – which also included C Note and 702 – Silk turned in the best set. Animated and entertaining, their perfect harmonies were matched only by the buff bods they showed off when they bared their chests.

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