Photo by Jeylin White
A few audience members were pulled on stage to do the “Wobble,” a hip hop line dance.
SOUTHERN CRESCENT—Scores of Henry, Clayton and metro Atlanta residents, braved the sizzling heat -- and even a bit of rain -- Saturday, to attend the second installment of the City of Riverdale’s South City Concert Series.
The concert attracted young and old who came out to hear some old school rhythm and blues, chow down on some fried fish and barbecue.
“I’m an old school fanatic,” said 24-year Rea Davis, of Henry County.
“I love live music,” said Eugene Sanders, 34, of Fulton. “This is what I call real music.”
The event was held Saturday July 21, at the Riverdale Town Center Amphitheater, at 7200 Church Street.
Rhythm and blues artist Freddie Jackson, who was the headliner, 1980s American funk band The Dazz Band, and rhythm and blues artist Meli’sa Morgan, known for her famous hit song “Do Me Baby,” took the stage and got the crowd on their feet, clapping and swaying to some of their greatest hits.
The host for the evening soiree were KISS 104.1 FM radio on-air personalities , who also dispensed free, hand-held fans to many in the audience.
Jackson, who is known for hits “Rock Me Tonight,” and “You Are My Lady,” sat down with the Clayton News Daily to give an update on his whereabouts since his last hit record in the 90’s.
ND: So, Mr. Jackson we haven’t heard from you in a while and people would like to know what have you been up to?
Jackson: I told someone at one of the radio stations, I said there’s not just the United States of America, there’s Europe and there’s Yen. Thank God I’ve touched many countries. My music has transcended into London, Amsterdam and I just came home from Brussels and Belgium. I have touched some many souls that’s why I’m still getting calls [to perform]. So, eleven number one records later, Freddie Jackson is still working. I have been doing this 28 years and getting ready to celebrate 30 years. It’s not like I have not been around I’ve just been around different places. Right now I’m touring with Jeffrey Osborne and Peabo Bryson, called the “Men of Soul”. So, I’m always working and I still have records that are still selling. I’m still here and I’m not going no where.
ND: You mentioned something during the concert that you are filming a movie. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Jackson: I can’t talk too much about it guys. They would be very upset with me but, it will be filmed here in Atlanta and now I’m going to shut up. I just got the script.
ND: How important is it for you to perform at smaller venues and feed peoples souls with your music?
Jackson: This is more exciting of them all, because these are the real people. These events are for people who are hungry, but can’t afford to spend the $30, $40, $50 or $75 for a ticket. I just want to see the people happy. These [smaller venues] is what Freddie Jackson was made of. My first album went gold with Atlanta alone, I sold 500, 000 copies. So these are the die hard fans.
ND: There have been some major artists who have passed away recently such as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. Did you have an opportunity to work with any of them?
Jackson: Those where my friends and I miss them dearly. Especially Whitney. Whitney and I started out together in this industry. Personally, the last time I saw her was at her aunties we held hands, we laughed and we talked. The most wonderful thing about my relationship with Whitney was I performed at her birthday party, I was there at her wedding, I was there when Bobbie Christina was born. It hurts real bad.
ND: You have lost a lot of weight. What have you been doing to shed the pounds?
Jackson: I lost 109 pounds. I lost my mother last year, so I lost a few more pounds. Vesta Williams saw me and said I’m going to buy you a bag of potatoes and make you eat every single one of them. I changed. I wanted to lose weight. I said to myself I’m going to get older and I didn’t want people to call me old and fat. You can call me old, but you can’t call me fat. So I went on a diet for eight years and this is life now.
ND: This is such an important year happening with the election. Do you have anything to say about it?
Jackson: I was invited to sing for our President, now hopefully I will continue to campaign, and I will! It took years for [President Obama] to clean up everybody else’s mess. I can’t imagine having the weight of the world on my shoulders. You can only do as much as you can in a short period of time. So people should stop pointing the finger on what [Obama] is not doing and look at the positive things going on. I’m a firm believer about keeping hope alive and I’m an Obama guy.
Cie Cie McGhee, the city’s marketing and events specialist said the last installment to the summer concert series will be Saturday, August 18 and will feature 1980s electro funk band Midnight Star; rhythm and blues artist Cherrelle, whose signature hits include “I Didn't Mean to Turn You On” and “Where Do I Run To”, and rhythm and blues artist Lenny Williams, known for his 1977 hit “Choosing You.”
Concert tickets prices are: $15 for general admission, $25 for reserved seating and VIP, $300 for tables, which seat eight people.
McGhee said the purpose of the summer series is to spotlight the City of Riverdale’s cultural arts programs and part of the proceeds from the ticket sales will go toward the program.
In addition to the concerts, McGhee added the city will host “Cool Down Thursdays” at the Town Center. She said local artists will perform and the event is free to the public.
“We just want to offer quality entertainment to people at an affordable price,” Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn Dixon said. “This is a great opportunity for families and couples to come and enjoy themselves and reminisce.”
McGhee said the concerts also feature venders who are on site to sell food and beverages. For more information about “Cool Down Thursday” and the concerts call (770) 909-5300.