Mary J. Blige is reminding the nation exactly why she’s heralded as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul this fall, hitting stages across the country with her Good Morning Gorgeous tour.

Presented by Hologic in partnership with The Black Promoters Collective, the tour boasts support from R&B crooner Queen Naija and multi-platinum recording artist Ella Mai. ESSENCE was in the building for the kickoff of the 23-city tour on Saturday, September 17 in Greensboro, NC, and bore witness to the magic that happens when R&B queens link up.

Launching to a sold-out crowd of 22,000 at North Carolina’s Greensboro Coliseum, the tour saw Queen Naija taking the stage promplty at its 8pm start time, rocking the crowd with a short, yet impactful set, including her hits “Medicine” and “Pack Lite.”

After a brief intermission, fans were wowed as Ella Mai took to the stage in an all-black bike short one piece and matching oversized black blazer complemented by patent leather boots. She belted out hits like “Not Another Love Song,” “Trip,” and of course, her Billboard chart-topping smash “Boo’d Up” which she credited on stage with “changing her life forever.” The full stadium rose to its feet and swaying camera lights back and forth as Ella Mai’s belted the familiar tune and beckoned them to join in.

The excitement and anticipation of the crowd was palpable as the crew turned the stage over after Ella Mai’s final bow of the evening. Then, the house lights dimmed and the crowd exploded into cheers, anxiously awaiting the Queen’s arrival.

Rocking feathered Jennifer Le over-the-knee boots, black hot pants and a bedazzled boning bustier, Blige finally took the stage in an explosion of pyrotechnics, opening the show with her track “Amazing,” featuring DJ Khaled, followed by “On Top” featuring Fivio Foreign, both from her newest album, and tour namesake, Good Morning Gorgeous.

Show opener Ella Mai could be spotted front row jamming along to classic Mary J., as the songstress soon transitioned into standard classics that turned the crowd raucous. Blige barely had to sing a note, turning the mic to her excited fans as they belted out lyrics to hits line “Real Love,” “Love No Limit” and “Be Happy.”

With a quick costume change, Blige returned to the stage with the more subdued balladry portion of her set, belting out tunes like “Good Morning Gorgeous” and “Love Without The Heartbreak” from an ornate chaise while smoke billowed around her.

The show continued suit with two more costume and set changes, as fans danced, sang, and even shed a few tears while the songstress performed her hits both old and new, concluding in a celebratory rainshower of sparks and confetti.

The Good Morning Gorgeous Tour continues in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 21, concluding in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 29. Find out when Mary J. Blige is performing in a city near you and purchase tickets HERE.

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