Mariah Carey knows how to play to her base.
For nearly three decades, the Greenlawn native has pursued her own sound — big, powerful notes teamed with fluttering melismatic runs, surrounded by lush pop or sleek hip-hop — rather than chasing musical trends. Sometimes, Carey’s sound syncs with her pop surroundings. (She does have more No. 1 singles than anyone except The Beatles, after all.) And sometimes, she is out on her own, buoyed only by the support of her loyal fan base, the Lambily. Judging from her show Monday night at Radio City Music Hall, we are in one of those times. But there is nothing wrong with that.
Opening with her current single “A No No,” the playful kiss-off from her “Caution” album, Carey was in fine voice and in a great mood, showing she is determined to move full steam ahead, as usual, with no regrets.
“This is my home,” she joked early on. “And I haven’t been here since 1901.”
Later, dressed in a black gown adorned in blinking LED lights, she declared, “This is a festive moment.”
And it really was. Carey seemed energized by her new music, offering five new songs in her set, including “Giving Me Life” — with special guests Slick Rick, who also did a bit of “La Di Da Di,” and guitarist Dev Hynes — and the slinky title track. Instead of throwing in another of her chart-toppers, Carey delivered a great version of the underappreciated “You Don’t Know What to Do” mashed up with “Emotions.” And as a tribute to the Lambily, who pushed the much-maligned 2001 soundtrack to “Glitter” to No. 1 on iTunes last year as a show of support in the run-up to the release of “Caution,” Carey delivered a medley from “Glitter,” including bits of “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” and “Didn’t Mean to Turn You On.”
However, Carey doesn’t skip on the hits either. She did two versions of “Always Be My Baby,” closing it with her 7-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe taking the stage to dance and give her hugs. She played up the Latin roots of “My All” and played up her debut single “Vision of Love” in all its diva glory. Carey is clearly ready for her next resurgence.
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