There were smoke and fire at Usher’s show in San Jose on Monday night, but things didn’t really heat up until two-thirds of the way through the concert, after he painstakingly selected seven women from the audience to join him onstage for “Bad Girl.”
Their suggestive dancing nearly upstaged the sexy R&B star, who, at the outset, told the diverse, capacity crowd at SAP Center, “I’m going to make it up to you” for not coming to town more often.
His current “UR Experience Tour” did span his catalog, from 1997’s ”My Way,” “You Make Me Wanna” and “Nice & Slow” to the up-to-date “Good Kisser” toward the end of the 100-minute performance.
Though he’s not quite Michael Jackson, Usher sure can dance, and he led an amazing crew that really moved (and did acrobatics) in a state-of-the art, light-flashing set, next to three hard-working backup singers and a band with an honest-to-goodness horn section.
Still, the most memorable tune in the show, which never really gained compelling momentum despite a lot of movement and glitz, was the melodic ballad “There Goes My Baby” (he dedicated it to the single ladies), which followed the audience-participation “Burn” with its evocative light show fueled by flickering cellphones.
But the audience singalong on “U Got It Bad” never took off. A prime pusher of sensuality, the 36-year-old Usher — whose birth name is Usher Terry Raymond IV — didn’t take off his shirt, though he did flash his abs to the delight of the crowd.
He looked great throughout, changing jackets, shirts and shoes several times. His glittering footwear seemed to have its own part in the show.
The spectacle did end on a high point, as the soul chart-topper told his fans “I motherf—ing appreciate you” and closed with “DJ Got Us Fallng in Love,” “Yeah” and “Without U.”