The-Dream brought his Kill the Lights tour to Detroit’s Elysium Lounge Friday, and the hour-long performance marked the 34-year-old’s welcome return to the local performance stage.
The-Dream, aka Terius Nash, has taken two years off from performing; it’s not easy to find time to perform when you’re writing hits for the entire pop world. Detroit was the latest stop on his warm-up outing that kicked off earlier this month and will eventually fold into a world tour, and it showed he’s got the material and live performance wherewithal to stage a captivating show.
Backed by a drummer and a keyboard player, The-Dream hit the stage at 1 a.m. and rolled into “Shawty is Da Sh**” from his 2007 debut album. The live percussion and synths beefed up the sound and gave Dream — who sported an Oakland Raiders hat and sunglasses — a rubbery vibe off of which to play. He progressed through a set of singles and album cuts and let the songs breathe, rather than falling into the familiar hip-hop trap of cutting a song after a verse and a chorus and rolling into the next hit.
“Walking on the Moon,” with its bubbly mid-80s Prince feel, was a highlight, as was the raw, emotionally honest “Used to Be,” a song from Dream’s 2011 mixtape “1977,” which was released under the name Terius Nash. His new single “Roc,” from his forthcoming “Love IV MMXII,” closed the set, leading into an encore of “Rockin’ That Sh**.”
The set of bad boy bedroom music fit the tight confines of the Elysium well, and gave the show an added feel of intimacy. When The-Dream returns with a bigger show the next time around, both he and the audience will be ready.
Also, did I mention he was wearing those Marty McFlys?
The-Dream’s set list, Elysium Lounge, 3/24/12: