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POP MUSIC REVIEW

Elliott's show plays to MTV's cameras

Fitfully paced concert fails to gather momentum, despite star's sexy energy.

November 01, 2003|Dean Kuipers | Special to the Times

"Y'all gonna get your two dollars' worth tonight," shouted hip-hop's leading lady Missy Elliott during a concert being shot for MTV2's "2$Bill" program at the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday. But the structure and pacing of a show made for TV chilled some of the heat and urgency of Elliott's sex-drenched brand of hip-hop, making for a concert that might be fun to watch on the tube (it premieres on MTV2 on Nov. 23) but is too full of starts and stops to get a freak on.

Taking to a stage dominated by a two-story boombox, a leather-clad Elliott joined a dozen frenetic dancers for a good kickoff number, "She's a Bitch," from her 1999 album "Da Real World." She let the energy dissipate, however, with a couple of medley-type segments and a lot of chatter while her dancers went through a whirlwind series of costume changes and routines, then came back banging with one of her now-classics, "Get Ur Freak On."

This was the pattern for the rest of the night, with quickly gathered momentum scattered by jump-cuts annoyingly similar to the visual style of MTV itself.

Elliott played her confrontational sexuality to the camera, having her male dancers strip, but then abruptly turned over the microphone to sprightly R&B singer Tweet, who came out in mid-show to sing five tunes, most notably her hit "My Place."

Elliott lost no time getting to the hits after this, teasing with the first minute or so of "Supa Dupa Fly," her breakthrough 1997 single, and segueing into the night's highlight, a long and loose version of her smash "Work It." This proved to be the only full-length version of any song she did all night.

She wrapped the show with three different takes of "Pass That Dutch," the first single from her upcoming album "This Is Not a Test."

The "Stomp"-style dance to "Dutch" was cute, and Elliott's energy was infectious, but a little more continuity in the frenzied beats that have made her famous might have saved the folks down front from having to overact for the cameras.

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