For this brief review, I’m going to write separately about the performance and the venue’s accessibility. Janelle Monae is an artist who loves to perform in front of a live audience. For nearly two hours, her kinetic enthusiasm never flagged as she powered through funk-inspired numbers like “Q.U.E.E.N.” and “Tightrope”. Her best moment of the night came when she performed “Cold War”–a favorite of mine and a song that seems to have a great deal of personal significance to Monae. She also delivered a few surprises, like a pounding cover of “Let’s Go Crazy”.
Now for the bad. The accessibility at the Skyway Theatre is terrible. The only spot that could accommodate my wheelchair was located at the end of the upper balcony, forcing other people in various states of inebriation to trip over my footrest on their way to and from their seats. And because I was sitting in the back, I was only able to occasionally glimpse Monae between the silhouettes of the people in front of me. The Skyway used to be an old movie multiplex, so I understand that accessibility wasn’t a major design consideration back then. But unless the current owners come up with a solution (doubtful), I probably won’t see another concert here.
Oh, and Prince passed within five feet of me on the way to his seat.