Cars parked in no-parking zones. Women rolling out of them in sixes and sevens. Lines around the corner. A model/singer inside. After the frisking and checking of IDs, ladies strut into the club in twos and threes. These are the signs of a good ladies' night at the Paradise Lounge.
Most people were just waiting, anxious and tense, to head upstairs to watch the March 10 performance of Tyrese Gibson -- model, actor, singer/songwriter, rapper -- all-around Renaissance man. When the time came, people lined the staircase and packed the elevator as a mass parade to the third floor. Most didn't make it up until after midnight. Some music was playing, but Ty had yet to appear.
Opener H-Wood and J-Max were in step with the whole R&B flavor of the night. But by the time Vin Brize (pronounced Breeze) went on, the crowd was chanting for Tyrese.
"I know they were waiting for Ty," Brize said afterward, "but I went with the flow." A second- and third-grade music teacher at Stafford Elementary, Brize helped the crowd forget that Tyrese was running a little late.
When Tyrese finally came on, smooth-shaven and elegant, the ladies rushed the stage, pushing the fellas to the back. Camera phones came out like lighters, flashing like it was Tara Reid revealing herself on the red carpet.
Tyrese took command of the crowd: "If someone hasn't told you lately, I love you," then, after a beat, "When somebody says, 'I love you,' you're supposed to say, 'I love you' back." Some of the women barely contained themselves at this invitation, rushing the stage and knocking people over to get a closer glimpse or a better photo.
Tyrese's hip-hop alter ego Black-Ty was virtually nonexistent in the performance as Tyrese took care of business, singing tracks such as "Sweet Lady," "Signs of Love Making," and from his newest album "Alter Ego," "One." Considering the crowd full of ladies, the intimate setting of the Paradise Lounge, and the short set made, it was a good call. S