Live review: Janelle Monáe at Pier 84 (slide show)

The R&B legend-in-the-making rocked the Hudson last night, with bonus appearances by Diddy and Big Boi.

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  • Photograph: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

  • Photograph: Getty Images for Target

    Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84

Photograph: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Target

Janelle Monáe and Target celebrate the release of The Electric Lady at Pier 84


“You’re a fucking god! You’re a fucking god!” So screamed one particularly jumpy fan last night at Hudson River Park’s Pier 84, as Janelle Monáe took her final bows and bounded offstage onto a boat moored in the Hudson.

The reverence was not unwarranted—over the course of a brief six-song set, the pint-sized powerhouse soul performer absolutely tore it up. To toast the release of her second full-length, The Electric Lady, Monáe appeared at this semiprivate show (sponsored—quite ubiquitously—by Target, CoverGirl and Sonos) that featured some pretty baller guests: Sean “Diddy” Combs and Big Boi, who co–executive produced Monáe's new album.

Decked out in a white pants, a white shirt, black boots and suspenders (the outfit was reminiscent of a Clockwork Orange Droog), Monáe owned the catwalk-style stage, backed by a six-man band and two backup singers. She burned her way through cuts off the new LP, her previous release The ArchAndroid, and an expertly sung cover of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Diddy entered to reminisce about his signing of Monáe to his label back in 2006, and Big Boi appeared just in time to rap his solo in the eminently danceable “Tightrope.”

By the time the show closed with “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Electric Lady” (no Erykah Badu or Prince cameos, alas), Monáe was surfing the crowd and there were literal fireworks going off across the water. Don’t ever say this girl doesn’t know how to put on a show. It all ended too soon, but got us suitably pumped for the sci-fi-loving singer’s upcoming show at the Apollo Theater on October 18 (click here for tickets).


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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