I couldn't think of a better way to spend a cold, snowy Saturday night in NYC than gettin' down to Lady Wray
and Lee Fields & The Expressions
at Irving Plaza. It was a show that brought out fans of all ages to hear the soulful grooves from the band as Lady Wray and Lee Fields brought the house down with their beguiling and exhilarating performances.
Lady Wray has been in the industry for quite some time now. Her real name is Nicole Wray and went by simply just "Nicole" when she started out as a hip-hop and R&B singer, who was discovered by Missy Elliott when she was 16. After her debut single "Make It Hot" went certified gold in the late 90s, she appeared on several songs by artists like Missy Elliott, Kid Cudi, and The Black Keys. In 2016, Wray announced the release of a new album Queen Alone
under her new stage name Lady Wray.
Lady Wray came on to the stage wearing an incredible, flowy black sequin dress with her shiny, blonde locks in big curls. She opened up the evening with "It's Been A Long Time" from Queen Alone
, which showed off her gospel-infused, soulful vocals right from the get-go. Lady Wray's church upbringing was also seen when she performed "Guilty," and "Do It Again," which were big highlights of her set. Each song was beautifully supported by vintage soul-style instrumentation with a groovy rhythm and horn section. Lady Wray's new sound suits her well and listening to her powerhouse vocals brought all the old school R&B feels to Irving Plaza.
After a high-energy dance introduction from The Expressions, Lee Fields sauntered onto the stage wearing a blazer that looked like it was straight out of the 70s (which is probably was). For more than forty years, the Brooklyn-based soul singer has impressed his fans with his energetic dance moves and powerful, soulful vocals. He's toured with musical legends such as Kool and The Gang and Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings and even after all the years - Fields still finds ways to pick up some younger fans. I feel like there were just as many fans in their 20s who knew every word to his songs alongside the older crowd on Saturday night.
The show was to celebrate the release of Special Night
, the newest LP from Lee Fields and The Expressions. Some highlights from the set were "I'm Coming Home," "Never Be Another Like You" and "Special Night." During the crowd favorite, "Ladies" from 2009's My World
, he did a shout-out to all the women in the room and went up to one female attendee and said, "Excuse me, what's your name? Your name is 'please all the way down to your knees!" Lee Fields knew how to work the crowd all night with his outlandish and hilarious comments.
During "Make The World," Fields would sing the chorus "We can make the world better / If we come together
" and after each time, he'd point the mic to the crowd to recite it back to him. One of my favorite songs of the night was "Wish You Were Here" from 2012's Faithful Man
, where we all swayed back and forth and sang along with Lee Fields.
The night ended with one of the trumpet players saying, "Give it up for the one and only, the legendary Lee Fields!" as Fields got on the mic to let out a few gospel-like screams as the crowd went wild. It was a night full of picking up my jaw from the floor, chills down my spine and sweet soul sounds.