KMOJ DJ Chaz Millionaire interrupted veteran Minneapolis soul singer Alexander O’Neal early in his second show on Wednesday night at the Dakota.
The longtime local DJ, who had earlier introduced “Alexander Oh So Good O’Neal,” wanted to present the 1980s star with a proclamation declaring Wednesday Alexander O’Neal Day in Minneapolis.
“I don’t know what that means,” a slightly bemused O’Neal said.
“Bro, that means you get a free pass to do what you want,” the DJ explained.
Guess that meant that O’Neal, the best male soul singer in the heyday of the Minneapolis Sound, could get onstage a couple minutes before 11 for a 9 p.m. show. (An opening act played for 20 minutes, starting at 10 p.m.)
That meant that the featured singer could spend only 45 minutes onstage.
That meant that for a so-called homecoming holiday show O’Neal could do only one seasonal song (“My Gift to You”) and a line or two from "Sleigh Ride."
That meant that O’Neal could complain politely a few times about the sound man – and for good reason. His voice was too soft in the mix. Or maybe his voice was just too soft.
Last seen in Minneapolis in 2013 at First Avenue with his old duet partner Cherelle, O’Neal has been living in Manchester, England, for several years. He’s appeared on a couple of reality TV shows, including “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2015. In 2010, he delivered a more satisfying holiday set at the Dakota that lasted 70 minutes.
Reared in Mississippi, O’Neal made his name in Minneapolis, thanks to producer-songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who helped him score such 1980s hits as “Fake,” “Criticize” and “If You Were Here Tonight.” All three of those favorites were featured in Wednesday’s late show, during which the 66-year-old singer was capably backed by six musicians and three singers.
O’Neal is scheduled to perform again at 7 and 9 p.m. Thursday at the Dakota. DJ Chaz Millionaire announced that Thursday has been proclaimed Alexander O’Neal Day in St. Paul. We’ll see what that means.