I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour
|I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour|
I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour Book (USA)
|Tour by Whitney Houston|
|Associated album||I'm Your Baby Tonight|
|Start date||March 14, 1991|
|End date||October 2, 1991|
|Shows||73 in North America
28 in Europe
2 in Japan
103 in total
|Whitney Houston concert chronology|
The I'm Your Baby Tonight World Tour was a concert tour by American pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston, in support of her multi-platinum album I'm Your Baby Tonight. Prior to the official start of the tour, Houston performed concerts in Japan. The tour kicked off in North America on April 18, in Knoxville, Tennessee that included 101 concert dates throughout 1991 in North America and Europe.
Houston embarked on the world tour to support the four-times platinum selling album of the same name. After a successful series of concerts in Japan during March 1991, Houston returned to the United States to prepare for the world tour. Houston was initially planned to start the tour in the U.K. However, due to the Gulf War, the European leg was rescheduled until the fall. Houston instead started the tour in the US. Houston kicked things off with her "Welcome Home Heroes Concert" on March 31 in Norfolk Virginia. The special, which aired on HBO, was dedicated to the troops who were fighting in the Gulf War. All proceeds went to the Red Cross. The summer of 1991 was considered one of the worst touring seasons ever. Many big names were cancelling dates and playing to low capacities. Houston was no exception. The singer played to low attendances and even cancelled some dates due to poor ticket sales. Experts cited the ongoing recession and financial crisis as the main reason. During the summer, Houston also developed a throat ailment. As a result, the singer was forced to cancel the end of her Canadian tour to rest her voice.
The tour resumed in late August when Houston reached the U.K. She played 10 consecutive dates at Wembley Arena in London, surpassing her own record of 9 straight dates at the same arena during the Moment of Truth World Tour, in 1988.
Unlike her previous tours, the shows had more focus on visuals. The stage was lit by 300 lights spinning and flashing in synch with the music. The state of the art system was designed by Mark Fisher and Jonathan Park. The system had only been used previously by Pink Floyd in his "The Wall" show in Berlin and the Rolling Stones' "Urban Jungle Tour". Houston also incorporated costume changes during her sets for the first time. She often wore skin tight jump suits. Houston also took part in choreographed dancing with backup dancers. Unlike her previous tours, the stage was not in the round. She was backed by a seven piece band. After her previous musical director John Simmons died, bass player Rickey Minor became the tour's musical director. R&B group After 7 opened during the North American leg. Dance act Snap! supported her on the European leg.
Houston reworked most of the songs during the show with improvisations and spontaneity, adding funk to the uptempos while slowing down the ballads. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Saving All My Love for You" was "sultry, taking excursions through the church and jazz world that aren't heard on the recorded version." She incorporated her popular love songs into a "Love Medley", giving her time to try out the newer uptempo/new jack swing numbers on her current album. Midway through the shows, Houston introduced her band while singing the gospel "Revelation". This started the gospel set which included a cappella and solos from her backup singers. Her brother Gary Houston also performed a Marvin Gaye medley. With hip hop music becoming popular during the time, Houston incorporated rappers into the show. Rappers were given verses during "How Will I Know" while shouting "yo Whitney yo" throughout other songs. During some of the shows, Houston incorporated her hit "All The Man That I Need" into a medley with the Billie Holiday classics "Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?)" and "My Man", which she dedicated to her own man at the time. At the time, Houston was rumored to be dating singer Bobby Brown. The rumor of course turned out to be true. The Holliday cover earned praise from many critics. The Vancouver Sun said "her delivery was achingly soulful" and that the singer should continue towards that direction musically. For some of the US dates, she performed her top ten pop hit "Miracle". Houston ended her show with "I'm Your Baby Tonight" before the encore, "Greatest Love of All", in Europe for some of the London, UK dates included the encore "I Belong to You".
Some criticized Houston for focusing on the MTV trend of relying on dancing and big production lighting. The Sun Sentinel noted that the singer should opt for smaller venues and theaters that are "far more suitable to her sophistication and talent." USA Today praised the singer because she "shakes the confinements of her recordings' calculated productions and gets downright gutsy and soulful"
- After 7 (USA—Leg)
- Snap! (European—Leg)
- D'Influence (Glasgow Scotland)
- Gerald Alston (European—Leg, select dates)
- "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)"
- "So Emotional"
- "Saving All My Love for You"
- "How Will I Know"
- Love Medley:
- Billie Holiday Medley:1
- "Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)" / "My Man"
- "All the Man That I Need"
- Marvin Gaye Medley: (performed by Gary Houston)1
- "My Name Is Not Susan"
- "Anymore"1, 2
- "Revelation" (contain excerpts of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and "He's All Right")
- Donnie Hathaway Tribute: (performed by Gary Houston)3
- "In Return"2
- "This Day"3
- "Who Do You Love"
- "I'm Your Baby Tonight"
- "I Belong to You"3
- "Greatest Love of All"
1performed at select dates in North America and Europe
2performed in Japan and select dates in North America
3performed only at select dates in Europe
- May 11: her performances of "My Name Is Not Susan", "Miracle" and "Greatest Love of All" at her Oakland, California concert was shown during a televised telethon that aired on MTV, May 12, for The Simple Truth: A concert for Kurdish Refugees.
- September 29: the concert in A Coruña, Spain was recorded and aired on TV in several markets of Spain, and select countries in Europe.
- Musical Director: Ricky Minor
- Bass guitar, bass sythensizer: Ricky Minor
- Guitar: Ray Fuller
- Keyboard: Michael Bearden
- Keyboard: Bette Sussman
- Saxophone: Kirk Whalum
- Drums: Ricky Lawson
- Keyboard: Kevin Lee
- Percussion: Bashiri Johnson
- Background vocalists: Gary Houston, Vonchita Rawls, Carmen Rawls, Tiawana Rawls
- Dancers: Diesko Boyland, Bryant Cash-Welch, Jonathan Webbe, Luca Tommassini
- Choreographer: Khandi Alexander
- Smith, Patricia. "Mom, apple pie and Whitney Houston in concert for troops". Boston Globe April 1, 1991.
- Watrous, Peter. "Pop Life". The New York Times. August 7, 1991. Page C15.
- Dafoe, Christopher M. "Rock 'n' Ruin Not just the recession is to blame for the small crowds at rock concerts this summer" The Globe and Mail. August 17, 1991. Page C1.
- "Houston cancels rest of tour". The Globe and Mail. August 10, 1991. Page C3.
- Stout, Gene. "Whitney Houston will be Impossible to Ignore when she comes to Seattle." Seattle Post. May 3, 1991. Page 5.
- Considine, JD. "Houston gives her hits a new spin, and her fans applaud at every turn". The Baltimore Sun. July 17, 1991. Page 1E.
- Bream, Jon. "Whitney (Hit Woman) Houston's concert packs quite a punch." Minneapolis Star Tribune. April 28, 1991. Page 07.B
- Racine, Mary. "Whitney love songs". Houston Chronicle. June 4, 1991. Page 1.
- Mackie, John. "Houston strikes up the bland: Voice can thrill, but lyrics shallow." The Vancouver Sun. May 8, 1991. Page B5.
- Wilker, Deborah. "Whitney Houston: Bigger - but better?" Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel. June 13, 1991. Page 3E.
- Jones, James T. "Whitney is so emotional, soulful in concert". USA Today. April 19, 1991. Page 01D.
- Selvin, Joel. "Whitney Houston Strands fans at Shoreline." The San Francisco Chronicle. May 15, 1991. Page E1.
- "Whitney Houston Cancels Omaha Date". Omaha World - Herald. June 26, 1991. Page 47.
- Chastain, Sue. "The Latest." The Philadelphia Inquirer. July 4, 1991. Page C2
- Howell, Peter. "Whitney Houston hits Ex with second major no-show". The Toronto Star. August 9, 1991. Page A1.