Friday Night: Mary J. Blige at Reliant Stadium
But when Mary J. Blige sings a song, it stays sung, and it's 100 percent the truth. And inspiration and empowerment are as critical to the bargain as pain. In her cover of U2's "One," there's a part of the song where Bono pulls back, as if the emotional weight of his lyrics makes him falter for just a second. Blige plunges right on through.
Blige ripped through her set Friday at such a furious clip she had to add an extra song, "No More Drama." The music is based on the theme from The Young and the Restless, and quite a few of her songs approach the same kind of melodrama as the venerable CBS soap opera. But when Blige injects the power of her force-of-nature voice into those stories -- she sang so hard Friday her whole body literally shook a few times -- catharsis doesn't come any rawer, for either Miss Mary or her audience.
Personal Bias: Just love her.
The Crowd: Ladies' night. Well-behaved husbands/boyfriends.
Overheard in the Crowd: "I don't think Beyoncé can do that."
Random Notebook Dump: Doug E. Fresh's name was written next to "Keep Risin'" on the set list, but the man behind '80s rap essential "The Show" never materialized. Pity.
Mutton Bustin' Report: The sheep were slippery Friday, and they all ran in a circle after one rider wiped out. Mutton bustin' rules.