Photo: Clayton Hauck
R. Kelly closed out Pitchfork festival on Sunday night with one of the best sets I’ve seen in my many festival-going years.
The hour-plus set was a glorified Kelly love fest, set to his top 40 hits. It worked: Who else besides Kells could start with “Ignition” and still have successful arc to his show?
The singer’s fans may love him—his Sunday night performance brought in a record number of Pitchfork people—but no one loves the man more than himself.
Here’s a 10-step formula for closing out the festival with the style and swagger of R. Kelly:
- Don a deep-v t-shirt with sequins.
- Bathe yourself in light, but keep the band unlit and in the dark. (Don’t introduce them, either.)
- Bring a gospel choir on stage, but only use them for one chorus of one song. (Don’t light them at all.)
- Get a crowd of tens of thousands to cheer: “You’re in shape!”
- Riff on the longevity of your career: “Twenty-fucking-seven years!” Do this for at least two minutes.
- Carry a diamond-encrusted mic.
- Litter the entire West Side of Chicago with balloons shaped like doves.
- Brag about being up there for two hours when it’s barely been one hour.
- Insist that your show is a “sexy grown-man show.”
- Play one of your own songs as the pre-recorded stage-exit music.
Bonus: Have a fanbase so rabid that they shout things like “You’re a fucking unicorn! A mystical fucking unicorn!”