Brandy heats up Venue stage

2013-01-24T00:00:00Z Brandy heats up Venue stageEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

R & B and pop singer Brandy brought her new show to The Venue at Hammond's Horseshoe Casino Jan. 19 and performed to a packed house.

The singer, who is currently touring to promote her latest album "Two Eleven", entertained the crowd during a nearly 90-minute show filled with a mix of new material as well as familiar Brandy tunes.

Prior to Brandy taking the stage, audience members grew a bit restless having to sit through two additional performances by opening acts Assata Jones and Bridget Kelly, as well as DJ segments featuring various dance tunes. The general admission show that night was set up like a club where fans could stand or dance close to the stage. Seats were set up behind the makeshift dance floor.

The event was also a fundraiser for the organization Project H.O.O.D. - Stop the Violence, which is committed to alleviating violence issues in Chicago and other communities across the nation.

Brandy, who finally began her show at nearly 10 p.m., delivered an enthusiastic performance featuring strong vocals on tunes such as the hit "Put It Down" from "Two Eleven,"  "Sitting Up In My Room," "Top of the World," "Have You Ever?," and "Almost Doesn't Count."

She also sang the catchy "The Boy Is Mine," a duet she did with singer Monica, but humorously encouraged the audience to sing along to Monica's part because she "wasn't allowed" to sing that portion of the song.

Since Brandy said she recorded "Two Eleven" as a partial tribute to the late Whitney Houston, the singer also paid tribute to Houston in concert. Brandy performed a medley of Houston songs including "I'm Your Baby Tonight," "How Will I Know," and  "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

"That woman meant everything to me," Brandy said, about Houston.

In a previous interview, Brandy said the Hammond show was her first concert of the year and she'd be planning more for the future. Listening to the rousing audience feedback at her show, it's safe to say region fans wouldn't mind having her back. 

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