"Said we could play all night, and we play all day. Livin' the champagne life, everything's okay," or so says the R&B artist Ne-Yo in "Champagne Life," the first single from his concept album Libra Scale. The sung tale of trash collectors transformed into a super-heroic trio who trade love for their powers has the music industry buzzing, but the Grammy winner is literally bringing fizz to the biz by pairing seven invitation-only performances with bottles of Moët & Chandon's Nectar Imperial Rose champagne for his guests. Last night, the tour swung by Washington, setting up shop at Josephine.
In Ne-Yo's world, garbage men are given magical powers, a cookie cutter DC club is transformed into the Moët Rose Lounge and bartenders with corset-clad Barbie bods pour pink bubbly for the crowd. Not a bad world to be in, if you can play all day—and if you can get the execution right. But trying to replicate bottle service culture only works if the crowd is actually spending large, or gets excited when a babe delivers a sparkler strapped to a bottle of Hennessey. Last night, neither was the case. At $12 for a glass of Moët Nectar Imperial Rose, pricey for DC, the bar was crowded but not frantic. And the lone sparkler recipient was a woman on her own.
Three hours after the Moët Rose Lounge unhooked its velvet rope Ne-Yo was nowhere in sight, and morning deadlines loomed close. Still there are worse things to do than sip Nectar Imperial while waiting for the show to go on. But it's hard to stay bitter about waiting when half the evening's equation was the semi-dry champagne, creamily crisp and filled with the mild sweetness of fresh strawberries and cherries. Fitting for Libra Scale's story-line, a complex trio of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes compose the champagne, which gives it a pleasing depth that's absent in lesser bubbles. And it's fitting that there was a catch in the evening as there was in the album, though the main attraction's tardiness is no comparison to a life without love. And besides, when you're livin' the champagne life, everything seems okay.