10 years ago, Mariah Carey embarked on an arena tour to support her overwhelmingly successful comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi. The tour, aptly named The Adventures of Mimi, hit 40 total stops, including 32 in the United States. This week marks 10 years since the tour made stops in the Tri-State area, and our own Vincent and Andrew were both lucky enough to be in attendance for both of their very first “adventures with Mimi.” Let us take you back…
August 23, 2006.
I will NEVER forget this evening for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost it was my very first experience seeing Mariah Carey live and I was sleepless and energized and READY. Second, there was a lovely dramatic moment that preceded the concert, but that is a tale for another moment.
Being from the Tri-State area, it is a generally understood fact that playing Madison Square Garden is a BIG deal, so being able to see Mariah there was a big deal. It was also my very first show at the Garden, so that made it even more significant. The merchandise set up was delicious. I still have my shirt, and wear it to this day.
My seats were pretty legitimate themselves. I was the first tier off the floor, a few sections over from the stage. A good view to say the least. When Mariah finally hit the stage, it was pandemonium. You had an entire, sold out audience singing along to her, song after song.
Mariah also does not play games when she comes home to New York for a show. She came equipped with one of her most star-studded performances to date. For starters, DJ Clue himself held down the DJ booth built into the stage along with DJ Suss One, both of which are mainstays in Mariah’s world. When the “Heartbreaker” remix launched, Da Brat appeared to roars of approval and dropped her verse, and just as quickly retreated. Mariah delivered a verse and hook, and then Clue switched the track back to the original version. Mariah continued onwards until, to the shock of the entire audience, the stage’s centered MC parted and out walked Jay-Z himself.
Jay looked around the audience as his verse began, spat the second line to make clear his presence and the room erupted. The next few lines of his verse were barely audible as the crowd nothing short of lost their shit. As he finished his verse, he stood by as Mariah closed out the song, and even proceeded to fan/bow down to her as she hit her signature high notes. The two embraced and Jay-Z exited. This is only the second time, and the most recent time the two have performed the song together. To this day, his appearance is still chill-inducing.
Mariah kept the show true to the hip hop roots she’d incorporated into her music for a decade. For “Dreamlover” and “It’s Like That” she incorporated some classic hip hop hits (The Notorious BIG’s “Juicy” and Run DMC’s “It’s Like That” respectively) into her live incarnations, to very positive results. During a costume change, DJ Clue cued up a classic New York hip hop track, “We Gon’ Make It” by Jadakiss & Styles P, who both touched the stage to perform a bit of the song. Mariah made sure to acknowledge her frequent collaborators.
As if all of these surprises weren’t massive enough, Mariah had one more trick up her sleeve. During “Honey”, Diddy suddenly emerged from the wings of the stage, marking the first and only time he has joined Mariah for a performance of the song. He dropped his signature ad libs, threw a chain around Mariah’s neck, and gave the crowd every bit of life they needed and then some.
August 25, 2006.
Two days after her show at Madison Square Garden, Mariah and I went up to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut for one more round of The Adventures of Mimi. I made a sign, which I also brought to the Garden, that said “Please, Mimi, sing ‘The Roof’,” — she did not notice it in NYC, but I was determined to get the Queen’s attention at my second and last date of the Mimi tour. You see, during the tour she had actually been taking fan-requests from reading signs, so, I thought that I had a fair shot of getting her to sing my favorite song ever, “The Roof,” at my first time attending a Mariah tour. However, I had no idea and could never have been prepared for what would come of it.
So, here I am minding my own business at the Mariah Carey show, 16 years old, sitting alone, prepared to get my life from my Queen. Hoping she would see my sign and sing a little snippet of “The Roof,” but at the same time thinking I was probably too far or she would never notice it among the crowd. But, Mohegan Sun was a bit different. This crowd wasn’t jam packed with lambs, it was filled with the casino crowd who wasn’t the most lively. So, perhaps it was my lucky day? Indeed, it was. As Mariah prepared to sing “Always Be My Baby,” she surveyed the crowd and my sign caught her eye. “And I like that sign you got right there,” she sang to me, cooing, “I wish I could sing that song, but the band don’t know it.” It was such a surreal moment. All the people in my general vicinity turned and looked at me and I totally freaked out… skip to 0:41 in the audio below to hear Queen singing to me:
Then, magically, after the show, I was invited backstage to meet the Queen herself in her dressing room. When I walked in, she looked and saw I was holding the sign and excitedly asked, “you heard me right?! I sang to you!” She went on to rant about how unfortunately the band didn’t know the song, or else she would’ve have sung it because she loves it (as we all know). Even more, she talked about how unfortunately the bulk of the crowd likely would not have known it either because, she groaned, it didn’t get the single treatment it deserved. Then, she asked my friend and I what we thought of the show. She admitted she was a bit disappointed by the demure casino crowd, but I assured her it was great. I also told her that I was in attendance of the MSG show, too, and thanked her for doing one of my favorites, the “Make It Last” remix of “Thank God I Found You.” I told her it was the song that made me into a huge fan. She was elated at the mention of the remix, asking “Really? How did you know it? It was a bit of an obscure remix.” That always confused me, because it was hardly obscure – it had a video after all, but I told her about how I grew up on Long Island, like her, and that it was all over NYC’s urban stations. Of course, she lived for the mention of this and we preceded to stan for our favorite radio stations together (107.5 WBLS and 98.7 KISS FM in particular, may it Rest in Peace).
From there, she treated us as if we were all old friends and started to tell us about how a pipe had burst in her NYC penthouse, and telling us about how everyone’s favorite Jack Russell Terrier, Jack, enjoyed the water park effect that came with the plumbing troubles. Now, mind you, this was my first time ever having a conversation with her and I felt so at ease. In the past, I was always quiet and star struck when meeting celebrities. But Mariah was so warm and friendly, so I felt completely comfortable just chatting away with her. After some more friendly banter, it was picture time. She asked her then-boyfriend/manager Mark Sudack to take the photo for us, and then, in true diva fashion, asked “Is it good?” before taking a look at the photo preview on my camera, giving it Mimi’s stamp of approval, “We have to make sure you get a good photo to show your friends, dahhhhling,” she insisted. Then, she offered to autograph my sign, and before she did, asked, “Is it Vinny with a -y or an -ie, we have to spell it right now, dahhhhling. I know how that is.”
From there, she hugged me goodbye, until next time… when, in 2009, we chatted again at the “I Want to Know What Love Is” video shoot and when I said, “Hi Mariah, I’m Vinny – I don’t know if you remember, but we met at Mohegan Sun during the Mimi tour…” before she cut me off, finishing my sentence: “And you had the sign for me to sing ‘The Roof’ and came backstage! Nice to see you again.”
Those are just some of our Adventures With Mimi. Can’t nobody tell us nothing about Mariah Carey’s love for the Lambily! It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since then. If you didn’t experience it first hand, luckily for you the whole show is on YouTube (and DVD):