music

Pure Pop Perfection - Mariah Carey’s 1995 Madison Square Garden Concert

My productivity slows down immensely as soon as I type in "youtube.com" in my web browser. Can you relate? It's a vortex I easily get sucked into. Whether it’s music videos, personal VLOGs or cat videos I seriously need help.

But today I felt it was time well spent, since I was indeed watching music videos -- it’s for work right? More specifically, Mariah Carey music videos. More specifically Mariah Carey concert videos. And more specifically Mariah Carey’s October 1995 concert at Madison Square Garden.

Bruh.

This was Mariah in her prime. Mariah before she Mimi needed to be emancipated. She was five albums into her career, had 10 No. 1 singles (six of which she performs in this show) and two Grammy awards. She was an icon of beauty.

And it was 1995, literally the mid 90s. A decade that brought us baggy jeans, Must See TV Thursdays, big hair, smooth R&B and dance pop perfection.

Notably though, the 90s brought us Mariah.

With all the aforementioned attributes, this concert, in her hometown of New York City, epitomizes the pop music scene of the time. Her background dancers had those robotic 90s dance moves (while wearing said baggy jeans). Mariah had her perfectly flowing, curly locks of hair. Her wardrobe was perfect, consisting of that half button down sweater look that every 16-year old 90s girl had. The one that slightly, yet tastefully exposed a bare navel when raising ones arms. She had perfectly hemmed pants that flared at the bottom, making room for her chunky heeled black booties. I’m pretty sure every girl I knew was wearing these in the Fall of 1995. And she also defined formal style of the day, wearing an off the shoulder number that hugged her body and fell straight to the floor, the direction in which I’m sure everyone’s mouth went when she walked on stage wearing that dark blue dress.

But most of all it’s the music and her voice. Mariah singing a dance tune instantly brings the mood from nothing to happy. Mariah singing a ballad is an introspective and moving experience. There are women who have voices and there are women who have instruments.

Mariah is of course in that company -- which includes Whitney, Celine and Christina just to name a few -- of vocal instruments. Here are five of my favorites from this show where her instrument shines.

Dreamlover

I swear, when I play this song, anyone born between 1965 and 1989 gets moving. I’ve had more looks over to the DJ booth in approval on this one than probably any other by her.

Forever

The only non- No. 1 on this list. Casual MC fans may have forgotten about it, which just cracked the Billboard Top 10 in 1996. It was a performance debut, so likely unknown to the NYC audience. But what a great performance it was.

Vision of Love

There has not been a better R&B Ballad released in the past 20 years than this. The run she does with her voice at the 2:40 mark is magical.

Hero

Oh hey Mariah .. are you singing actual words? All I’m hearing is pitch perfect melodies coming through my headphones from you and your choir. And why am I crying?

One Sweet Day

Wait a minute. So you’re telling me Boyz II Men are going to sing live with Mariah? BOYS TO FREAKING MEN!!

FYI, this performance was essentially a debut for the song. It would not be released commercially for another month. I imagine Boyz II Men strolling on the stage was just a teeny bit of a surprise.

I can’t even finish writing this … literally dead.

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Justin Kanoya is a wedding DJ based in San Diego. He has served as a DJ and host of more than 300 weddings over the past decade and is a recommended vendor at some of San Diego's finest wedding venues, including the Hotel del Coronado and the Lodge at Torrey Pines. 

I Went To The Beyonce Concert and Discovered What Girl Power Is

Beyonce brought all of her flawless fierceness and slaying to San Diego when her Formation Tour stopped in to say hello on May 12, 2016. I, along with my family and 50,000 others were in the crowd.

I never know what to expect when I go to these massive stadium shows. The beauty of attending a live music act is to share a space with an artist and others around you that share the same love for that artist. It’s the ability to connect with someone who we may only know through a computer screen, an Instagram account or sounds of the radio.

But in a stadium, the connection is so physically difficult. The artist is yards away, appearing no larger than a postage stamp. I’m more connected to the men’s bathroom -- which was about 5 paces away -- than I am to the Queen Bey.

But this is Beyonce. Sasha Fierce. One of a short list of entertainers who can stand out in a sea of dancers, a collection of a million LED lights and a stage filled with production technology that I can only imagine must be equivalent to the cost of several acres of coastal property in La Jolla, Calif.

I mean, no joke, part of her stage -- which I’m guessing took up slightly over ⅓ of the Qualcomm Stadium field -- LITERALLY TURNED INTO WATER. The Queen and her dancers walked/danced on water. WTF??!!

If there is a way to connect with an audience in the same way you would during an acoustic set at coffee shop, Beyonce somehow finds a way to do it.

Here I was being blasted with a setlist of songs, of which just a handful I was familiar with, yet I was so engaged.

And just past the halfway point, I realized what was drawing me in. After about the 37th time of Bey asking for the ladies to give themselves a shout out. For being okay for “waking up like this.” For being okay with being independent. For being okay with empowerment.

If the Spice Girls were about girl power, then Beyonce is girl powerized.

You see, I have a daughter.  And everyday I watch as she continues to grow into her own self. Realizing what self worth is and why positive self worth is the thing that will help define her. It is that strong spirit I am most proud to see her nurture within herself.

Raising a girl puts me more in tune with examples of strong, take no BS women. Because my daughter, nor Beyonce, seems to be those type of females.

  My daughter is a little ball of girl power. 

My daughter is a little ball of girl power. 

On this night, through music, sound and visual, Beyonce connected with me and exemplified what it means to be strong.

I realize I don’t know a whole lot about her outside of the music world. In fact, most of her music that really “speaks” to women naturally never spoke to me.  Yet, I still enjoy the music, I mean who doesn’t bounce to “Love On Top?”

If Beyonce is going to be one -- not the sole one -- but one example of a strong women that my daughter looks up to then I’m good with it.

Beyonce is a women that stands tall, with flawless hair whipping so perfectly as a strategically placed fan blows wind through it while executing perfect booty shakes and dance moves in ankle deep water. She is a woman who is a working mother, a business woman and a philanthropist.

Beyonce certainly is a controversial figure to many ... but, then again most shit disturbers are.

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To listen, click on the Spotify playlist below, and subscribe to the DJ Kanoya 5 playlist.

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To listen, click on the Spotify playlist below, and subscribe to the DJ Kanoya 5 playlist.

Justin Kanoya is a wedding, yoga and fitness DJ based in San Diego. He is also the official DJ for Fitbit events that take place all over the United States.