Robin Thicke is in a tough place right now. He didn’t win his Grammy nomination. His marriage is over, and despite having six albums in the last 10 years, he’s best known for being on the business end of the “Twerk Heard Round the World.” Yet still, looking dapper in a suit jacket, vest, starched white shirt, no tie, sunglasses and a whole band rocking his initials, Thicke showed flashes of success at the Fillmore Auditorium on Sunday — remnants of the hit “Blurred Lines.”
On stage, Thicke comes off more like a dirty Michael Bublé — one who would be the antagonist in a romantic comedy. His main selling-point is sex appeal, which is at times gentlemanly and other times slightly creepy. Just listen to his crotch-forward lyrics and you’ll get the point.
Like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, Thicke fronts a whole band complete with horn section, multiple percussionists, backing singers and more. It’s the new big band aesthetic, where Thicke appears as more of a leader than an R&B singer. With vintage microphone in hand, Thicke charmed the audience with his James Browne footwork.
And surprisingly, Thicke was able to fill in the set with some enjoyable tracks as the audience waited to hear “Blurred Lines.” Yes, he played the summer chart-topper, but the rest of the 90-minute show was upbeat and pretty fun. Sweaty couples danced dirty on the Fillmore floor, single women from ages 16 to about 60 reached out to Thicke and screamed marriage proposals from the balcony. With the love and the fun, one might almost forget the tough times that Thicke has run into during the last few months.
Out of the 14 songs on the set list, the most notable included the encore “Blurred Lines” (“Blurred Lines,” 2013), “Magic” (“Something Else,” 2008) and “Take it Easy On Me” (“Blurred Lines,” 2013). Thicke turned “Take it Easy On Me” into a homage to Bob Marley, repeating the verse, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
Other covers included in the set were partial versions of “Give It Away,” (Red Hot Chili Peppers), “Rock With You,” (Michael Jackson), and a thoughtfully soulful version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”
Evan Semón is a Denver freelance writer and photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work.
Ty Hyten is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.