POP MUSIC REVIEW : Special Gospel-R&B; Sounds From BeBe and CeCe Winans
The gospel-R&B; uplift of BeBe and CeCe Winans may take a different angle of trajectory from their older siblings in the Winans, but the two most certainly delivered their music to the same lofty destination at the Celebrity Theatre on Saturday.
Although secular music was banned in the Winans household, both groups developed a canny mastery of modern R&B;, the most obvious evidence being BeBe and his sister CeCe’s current No. 1 R&B; hit “Addictive Love.” But where the Winans’ performances tend to open with a churchy fervor and jump off from there, BeBe and CeCe arrive at Sunday morning more by way of Saturday night, letting their set build though sleek Luther Vandross-styled soul to eventually arrive at the same rhapsodic boil.
BeBe and CeCe sang fabulously, with his Vandross-meets-Teddy Pendergrass vocals offset by CeCe’s rich alto, which she exercised with both finesse and fire. Abetted by guest artists Margaret Bell and Christian rapper Mike’E, along with a hard-working backing vocal trio--including two other Winans sisters--the two-hour show was a vocal tour de force, with the ante upped even more when Stephanie Mills came from the audience to join in.
Although flying far freer than the recorded version, “Addictive Love” seemed nearly pallid compared to the show closer, “Celebrate New Life.” That song built from a Caribbean groove to a locomotive force, with BeBe racing ahead, shouting with a rhythmic drive that made him seem as though he was both conductor and the train.