Okay so I didn’t really have a “date” with El Debarge…Hey but a girl can be creative!
Monday evening I went to the Conga Room in Los Angeles with some friends. Normally I don’t hang out on a “school” night. Truth be told, I don’t normally hang out at all. But since my mom is in town, I’ve had the opportunity to be a grown up and go out a couple of times as she keeps an eye on my little one. I was invited to the Conga room by a friend because El Debarge was scheduled to perform.
Listen, I know what you must be thinking…Where has El Debarge been? Well the brother was in the slammer for a minute. The history of drug abuse in the Debarge family is no secret. I remember being a teenager and thinking the Debarge men were some kinda fine. Long hair and all. But when I realized their demons, I quickly moved on to LL Cool J. Hey what do you want, I was teenager already.
Needless to say I didn’t have the highest expectations that El Debarge would still have “it”. I really was hoping he wouldn’t embarrass himself and we’d all be forced to give him sympathy applause. The Conga Room isn’t a concert hall. It’s far more intimate. Any mistake or missed note will clearly be recognized. The evening for me started off with a bang when I was introduced to one of the owners of the Conga Room, the legendary Sheila E. At 52 years old, Sheila E. is still as fly as her “Glamorous Life” days. Comedian, Mark Curry was the host for the evening. Mark Curry gave a special shout out to some of the celebs in the crowd, Macy Gray, Kelly Price and David E. Talbert. As Mark and some opening acts warmed up the crowd, El Debarge made his way into the club along with the incomparable Babyface. I thought to myself, now we’re cooking with Wesson.
Finally some time after 11pm, Mark Curry introduced El Debarge. I found myself sitting at a reserved table right in front of the sate, giddy and nervous all at once. With the stage set and the anticipation through the roof, I felt a little worried for this man, I’ve never met. I hoped like crazy that he wouldn’t crack or sound…well…ur ra ta…terrible. The band struck the first chord to “Time Will Reveal” and El Debarge opened his mouth to sing. For this Jersey girl, I was instantly transported back to 1983, swaying my arms and singing along to every lyric, loud and off key. Mr. El Debarge on the other hand was very much on key and as smooth as butter. Time certainly revealed that he still has “it”. Everyone immediately stood to their feet and the love in the room was almost overwhelming. Babyface joined El on stage to do a duet they did back in the day when Babyface was a part of a little group known as The Deal. That was a magical moment. I believe this was around the time I lost a little cool because my smile was so big that my cheeks began to hurt.
By the time El Debarge closed his set with “I Like It” he had managed to not only have all of the women standing, screaming and singing along like school girls but the men in the house were just as giddy. Here’s the best part of the evening: Sheila E brought El Debarge back on the stage before they bid us all a good night. Sheila began to speak a word over El Debarge. I remember hearing that Sheila E. was born again. Sheila told El Debarge that he has a gift and an anointing from God to use his gift. She told him in so many words that all of his rough days and struggles were meant for this time. My sincere hope is that El Debarge realizes truly for himself that he has “it” and that he has for once and for all exorcised those demons that held him hostage for so long. And Chile Please the brother looked great! I doubt I will hang out on a school night any time soon again. Yawning during a confernce call is not the business. Chile Please!
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