Review: Jody Watley's 'Older, But Not Old' During Yoshi's Show

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28:  Singer Jody Watley attends the Harper's BAZAAR celebration of Cameron Silver and Christos
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Singer Jody Watley attends the Harper's BAZAAR celebration of Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos of Decades new Bravo series 'Dukes of Melrose' at The Terrace at Sunset Tower on February 28, 2013 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

It's official: Jody Watley is still a thrill!

The Grammy-winning sensation performed more than three decades of hits -- and a handful of new material -- for a packed Yoshi's Oakland on Thursday, May 28. Stunning in a black sequin pantsuit for most of the 90-minute show, Watley danced, sang and drew the audience in with storytelling perfect for the intimate East Bay venue.


At 55-years-old, Watley stayed true to her roots on Soul Train, keeping pace with two gorgeous back-up dancers (call me, boys!) for the first half of the night. She cranked out favorites like "Second Time Around," arguably her biggest success with group Shalamar, and "Looking for a New Love." To the delight of fans, she poked fun at the '80s image which made her a fashion icon, at one point even pulling out a pair of massive hoop earrings.

"I'm older," she joked, catching her breath during one of the high-energy numbers, "but I'm not old!"

After working up a sweat, Watley slowed things, serving poignant renditions and personal stories which brought the star close to tears. A deconstruction of her 1989 Top 5 smash "Everything," dedicated to those in attendance (a group as diverse as the singer's musical output), proved a highlight. The pinnacle of the slow jams, though, was her emotion-laden cover of Rihanna's "Stay."

"I see so much of myself in her -- in so many of today's young artists, actually," Watley said, then burst out laughing. "But I did it all first!"

In addition to long-time favorites, Watley served fans a taste of forthcoming Paradise, opening with current single "Nightlife." Later, a rousing performance of upcoming "Sanctuary" -- an electro-jazz ode to home, which brings to mind in the best possible way her 1999 opus The Saturday Night Experience and follow-up Midnight Lounge -- left fans hungering for the EP's June 2014 release.

Out of breath and out of time, Watley sent the crowd home happy with "Real Love." It was a consummate performance by a consummate professional. Until she makes her inevitable return, for which this fan is unquestionably anxious, nobody says it better than the legendary artist herself.

Hasta la vista, baby.