Monica, Tank concert a ‘ladies night’ in Stockbridge



Saturday’s Monica concert featuring special guest Tank was technically not dubbed a “ladies night,” but it was clear that was the event’s direction by the end of the three-hour show.

On the one hand, Atlanta-native Monica preached girl power, with songs that encouraged women to love themselves and to never let a man take their crown. On “Still Standing,” the mostly female crowd raised their fists in defiance of all the men who had done them wrong.

Tank, however, preached girl love. His overarching them was about men loving women through respect and honoring their humanity, but with a heavy ... and I mean heavy ... dose of sensuality. Tank’s song lean in hard on the bedroom and includes sexually explicit language that can’t be reproduced in a family newspaper.



The pairing of the two in concert at Stockbridge’s “The Bridge” Amphitheater proved effective, with the standing-room-only crowd on its feet for most of the night and concertgoers singing in unison with the performers.

Headliner Monica wasted no time with filler or lesser known tunes from her extensive catalog. Dressed in a lycra top and shorts topped by a blue denim and black jacket, she launched her set with her 1995 No. 1 R&B charting debut single “Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Them Day).”

Decked in blue demin thigh-high boots, the 42-year-old strutted with confidence across the stage as the song’s percussive beats -- which mixed New Jack Swing with the emerging hip hop sound -- encouraged fans to bop side to side.

That was followed by “Before You Walk Out My Life,“ the ballad of lost love that topped the charts soon after “Don’t Take It Personal” and catapulted the then 14-year-old into stardom alongside her idol Whitney Houston.

Like her contemporaries Mary J. Blige and Fantasia, Monica’s appeal is her ability to sing convincingly about the highs and lows of love. The audience was the perfect partner on the tender “Angel of Mine” and the sublime “Love All Over Me.”

But when love hits the rocks, Monica, like her sisters in battle, doesn’t shy away from the pain. On “The Boy is Mine,” Monica sang a chorus-heavy, truncated version Saturday of the No. 1 pop duet about a cheating boyfriend with fellow teen star Brandy.

On “So Gone,” however, it was a woman at the helm of the tune. She wasn’t arguing over a wayward boyfriend, but questioning why she was stalking the man she lost and comparing herself to his new love.

On the song’s rap, the audience enthusiastically joined in: “Listen boy I’m a rowdy chick/Sometimes I have to fight because my mouth too slick/Baby why you doing me like I ain’t worth ish/Make me want to ride past your house to sit/Kick down your door and slap you chick/Just to show you Monica ain’t having it.”

“My name is Monica. Monica Denise Long. And I’m crazy as hell when I’m in love,” she said to cheers.



Not to be outdone, Tank focused on the way men should act with a woman. And the singer, with his good looks, muscled body and sultry voice, didn’t find any objections.

Especially when he took off his shirt and sang in just a pair of cutoff shorts, which fell just slightly below his slim waist. (Along with the shorts, he began his set wearing a tank top under a black leather jacket).

On slow burners, “I’ll Touch You Slow” and “Maybe I Deserve,” he had the women swooning and backing up his words. They were especially supportive on when on “Please Don’t Go,” he sang, “It ain’t worth telling a lie/It ain’t worth seein’ ya cry/It ain’t worth that’s why I’m right here, begging you please don’t go.”

He told the women that tonight was their night and to expect good things to come after they leave the show.

“He normally doesn’t open that car door, but tonight he’s going to open that door,” Tank said of the women’s male partners. “He knew he was bringing you to see Tank.”