Backstage Pass

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Macy Gray shines at the Beacon Theater

Macy Gray released "Covered," her interpretation of recent

Macy Gray released "Covered," her interpretation of recent hits, in 2012. (Credit: 429 Records)

Macy Gray is not kidding around.

Oh sure, she has some great lines for the crowd. (“We turned the music down so we can hear you scream,” she told the audience during “Kissed It.” When the crowd didn't respond quite enough, she told the band, “Turn it down some more.”) But Gray and her impressive six-piece band are serious about becoming the best R&B band around and their 40-minute set last night at the Beacon Theatre showed they may have already arrived.

Gray's most recent album “Covered,” finds her taking on a wide range of artists, from Arcade Fire to Metallica. For this tour, opening for Seal, she has woven in some of the album's more interesting interpretations with her own songs.

The Eurythmics' “Here Comes the Rain Again” gets a jazzier feel than the original, while Radiohead's “Creep” is given a more new wave turn that Gray caps off by commanding the stage like a glam rock queen. The covers provide a nice balance to Gray's unique soul selections, getting the crowd on their feet for a wild “Why Didn't You Call Me?” and a Latin-tinged “Caligula.”

Her signature song “I Try” combines everything she is trying to accomplish, placing R&B with a reggae version of “Sukiyaki” and a snippet of Bob Marley's “Three Little Birds,” as well as a standout solo for singer Shemika Seacrest, who should probably go out and win “The Voice” or “The X Factor” if she has some free time in the fall.

Gray's show brings together the skill and authenticity of a great bar band and the production and star power of a huge Las Vegas spectacle — the kind of show you'd want to see again and again to see how it evolves.

SETLIST: Kissed It / Here Comes the Rain Again / Creep / Sweet Baby / Why Didn't You Call Me / Do Something / Caligula / Sail / I Try

Tags: Macy Gray , Shemika Seacrest , Seal , Radiohead , Eurythmics , Arcade Fire , Metallica

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