Music » Critics' Picks

R. Kelly

8 p.m. Friday, June 17. Chaifetz Arena, 1 South Compton Avenue.

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When R. Kelly was last in St. Louis for a show at the Fox Theatre in December 2009, he took time out of his bump-and-grind jams to pay homage to two idols — Michael Jackson and Sam Cooke. For the latter, Kelly took the stage in a sharp '60s-style tuxedo and crooned "Bring It On Home to Me" and "A Change Is Gonna Come." That tribute gave a preview of his 2010 release, Love Letter, where the R&B lothario channeled the elder statesmen of smooth soul, with stylistic nods to everyone from Marvin Gaye to Donny Hathaway. From a guy whose normal method of real-talk seduction boiled down to "girl, you make me wanna get you pregnant," Love Letter shows how an older, wizened Robert can try a little tenderness.

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