Janelle Monáe’s blistering musical boot camp topples the Midland

The Age of Pleasure returns to KC, with support from Jidenna, Nana Kwabena, and Flyana Boss.
Img 4329

Janelle Monáe at Midland Sept. 9, 2023. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

A sold out audience at Midland bore witness Saturday night to the biggest musical homecoming event of 2023. Janelle Monáe, supporting her new album The Age of Pleasure, with opening acts Jidenna, Nana Kwabena, and Flyana Boss.

Hip-hop duo Flyana Boss set the bar high early in the night. The LA rising stars, fresh off the release of a remix track with Missy Elliott, commanded the crowd with a series of chant-alongs and banter between songs about social media haters shitting on their rising stardom. Jienna set the interstitial vibe to prepare for the queen’s arrival.

Monáe’s set opened with a ceremonial welcome for every member of the band, then a dance crew, then the ArchAndroid themselves. While the set jettisoned most tracks from the earlier album to focus on the vibes of the most recent release, the lack of a space opera didn’t mean this still wasn’t high concept—as this is surely the only concert we’ll catch this year with chapter breaks.

As per always, Monáe put on a physical tour de force, where sitting down on a throne seemed so well-earned that it illicit its own cheer from the crowd just to see her have a chance to stop moving. Weaving the threads of the summer stoner mixtape from the album into segments featuring 16mm footage of their crew hanging out in the ocean, Age of Pleasure translated perfectly to the stage in the most memorable show we’re likely to catch in 2023.

Thanks for coming home.

Screenshot 2023 09 09 At 114540 Pm

Janelle Monáe at Midland Sept. 9, 2023. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

Janelle Monáe Setlist:

Champagne Shit
Oooh La La
Django Jane
Electric Lady
Lipstick Lover
Water Slide
Know Better
Paid in Pleasure
Only Have Eyes 42
I Like That

Make Me Feel
Come Alive (The War of the Roses)

Screenshot 2023 09 09 At 114513 Pm

Janelle Monáe at Midland Sept. 9, 2023. // Photo by Brock Wilbur

Categories: Music