When Winston-Salem residents forked out top dollar to watch R&B icon R. Kelly perform, you can understand why they’d be expecting to see R. Kelly perform. But those in attendance at Ziggy‘s last weekend have now discovered to always expect the unexpected with the resurgent crooner. As it turns out, “An Intimate Birthday Celebration”, as the event was advertised, was a pretty one-sided celebration.
After coming on stage and singing one line from his 1994 anthem Bump ‘N Grind, with plenty of enthusiastic backing from the crowd, Kelly then totally clocked off. For the rest of the show, the audience looked on as he got drunk, smoked cigars and got high. According to Journal Now, a local publication, tickets sold for $35 to $55 but some paid up to $500 for a VIP table at the show.
One such ticketholder commented, “After making a couple quick comments to the crowd, Kelly sat down — for the duration of the ‘show.’” Nate Saunders added, “He didn’t sing one song or even address the crowd again. The crowd was just kind of staring at each other confused.”
Charles Womack, the co-owner of Ziggy’s, agreed that “this was an experience that definitely fell short,” describing the event as “a very unfortunate incident”. Apparently the venue payed $25,000 for R. Kelly’s appearance, only later finding out he would literally just be appearing and doing very little else. Nowhere in the contract did it state Kelly would be performing. Womack said they are not expecting a refund.
540 people rocked up to watch how R. Kelly gets down and, clearly one to stick it out for the fans, the singer apparently hung around and partied for an hour longer than detailed on the contract, though, as you can see in the footage below, while on stage he offers virtually nothing to the audience.
But hey, better to be pissed off than pissed on.