by Timothy Cox
For New Pittsburgh Courier
COLUMBIA, S.C.—An evening with R&B legend Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, proved to be the rare treat so many concert attendees expected.
Nearly 5,000 people witnessed a sold-out, rare performance by one of the supremely talented American composer/producers of the post Vietnam War Era.
During his 90-minute performance at the majestic and classic Koger Center on the University of South Carolina campus, Babyface offered the smooth crooning love messages that made him the ladies’ favorite R&B performer throughout the 1990s.
He also performed the many hits he co-composed when performing with SOLAR recording group, the Deele.
An Indianapolis, Ind. native, Edmonds first performed with MANCHILD and later played keys with Bootsy Collins who gave him the nickname, Babyface. After forming LaFace Records in Atlanta with partner Antonio Reid, Babyface quickly became a hit-making sensation—credited for continuing in the tradition of Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder.
At his Feb. 25 South Carolina show, he swooned the ladies with hits like “Cool In You,” “Whip Appeal,” “When Can I See You Again” and hits composed for other artists like Johnny Gill’s “My My My,” Bobby Brown’s “Roni,” Tevin Campbell’s “Can We Talk” and Midnight Star’s “Slow Dance.”
Significantly, at certain parts of the performance, “Face” would ease the music, grab a guitar and sit on a stool to have a cool conversation with the crowd—ala VH1 Unplugged. It was obvious the audience was spellbound and completely engaged with stories about his eventful career.
Columbia resident Wilford Rogers and wife Pam Rogers were intrigued. “Pam made sure I got the tickets in advance. No way would she miss this one—it was a great show and I’m glad we got a chance to witness a legend,” said Wilford Rogers, also a former Columbia radio industry executive.
Concert proceeds were to support a Columbia-based non-profit agency known as Auntie Karen Foundation.