Sexy, sassy soul singer Karyn White didn’t look like she has spent 17 years out of the spotlight at Thursday’s opening gig of a three-night run at the Rrazz Room.
Alluring in black – tank top, skin-tight pants and sparkling stilettos – White crooned, growled and belted late-1980s-early ’90s hits and new tunes from her 2012 release “Carpe Diem.”
Backed by a funky, Bay Area-based five-piece band including longtime collaborators Derek Allen on bass and Bobby G on guitar, the R&B singer showed no signs of distress after a long break from show biz (to raise a family and establish an interior design business in the Sacramento area).
New tunes “My Heart Cries” and “Carpe Diem” had a similar feel to White’s chart-topping, anthem “Superwoman” and the uptempo “The Way You Love Me” (which got a hip-hop treatment) and, not surprisingly, had everyone in the room singing along.
Rounding out the band were Thomas McCree on drums, Devin Watkins and Dave Jackson on keys, and top-quality backing vocalists Julie “Juju” Morris and J Ali, whose duet of “Love Saw It” rivaled White’s original with Babyface.
Oozing sexiness, she got up close and personal to a fan who who came onstage for “Can I Stay With You?” looking as sultry as she does in two-decade old videos.
White dedicated a new song “Sista Sista” to Whitney Houston, and did a deeply felt cover – something she said she rarely does – of Cyndi Lauper’s big hit “True Colors.”
Closing with the inspirational, upbeat title tune from her new album, White’s lively show hopefully signals increased activity in her long-dormant show biz career.
IF YOU GO
Where: Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 22 Mason St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $45.50 to $55.50
Contact: (800) 380-3095, www.therrazzroom.com