It's a daunting leap for a performer of any age to go from clubs to large outdoor venues. Alicia Keys is a mere twenty-one years old, but if anyone can make the move smoothly, it'll be her. She's still riding high from her five-million-selling, five-time Grammy-winning 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, a stunningly soulful set that lingers in the Top 100 more than a year after its release. Besides, it's not as if nobody's got her back: She's on the road with a thirteen-piece ensemble, performing lush neo-soul arrangements of Minor tunes such as "Girlfriend," "Fallin'," "A Woman's Worth" and "Rock Wit U."
Perhaps one of the reasons Keys seems so much more assured than other young flavors-of-the-moment is that she has what appears to be a genuine appreciation for pop history: She's publicly given props to influential forebears Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack; her latest single is a knockout version of Prince's "How Come You Don't Call Me," and in concert lately she's been covering the Leon Russell classic "A Song for You." Clearly Keys knows her stuff. Don't bet against her continued success.