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After the rain 

MusicFest 2005

I didn't (and couldn't) see every act perform, but I was really into the Rochester MusicFest 2005 for what I did experience.

Coming in on the tail end of Nina Sky's performance on Saturday, July 16, got my body moving as soon as I stepped on the grounds. Shortly after was Jagged Edge's ballad-filled set, and 112's club-hit frenzy.

Ciara was next up, interacting very well with the crowd. She heightened her dancetastic show when she pulled some "random" audience member (who might have been spotted backstage before the show) to show Fest-goers how to cut a rug real crunk-like.

John Legend closed the night out. His first-rate performance was abruptly stopped when the thunder and lightening storm hit the park. The safety evacuation came before he even got to perform his biggest hit.

Sunday, July 17, proved to be a better, yet shorter day; all the acts I saw were excellent. I missed Fatty Koo's set altogether, arriving just in time to have Raheem DeVaughn remind us what it means to see soul music performed live. His band, his background singers, his on-stage painter (dude was doing live abstract pieces as he was inspired by the music): all on point. The man can sing, and he was determined to make you want to pick up his debut disc.

Less than 10 minutes after DeVaughn's set, Lyfe Jennings appeared to woo his screaming, adoring fans. He jumped around as the crowd sang every word verbatim. I was impressed; he sounded much better live than on his critically acclaimed LP.

The Chi-Town homeboy was Sunday's showstopper. Common effectively shut the place down. Starting with a few back-to-backs from his latest disc, Com put it down for all; new-school and true-school heads were all noddin'. DJ Dummy shined as the music provider, cuttin' up the wax with razor sharp precision. By the time the show was done, all eyes were focused on stage, and all hands were clapping, including spectators watching from in the clouds. The skies applauded, flooding the park and causing another evacuation.

Even though weather kept Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, and Faith Evans from hitting the stage, this year's MusicFest was a great show, soggy toes and all.

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