No ballad will go unpenned, no pop song allowed to be boring or predictable, and languid dance moves better watch out when Shaffer Chimere Smith is around. The singer/songwriter/producer Smith was given the name Ne-Yo by a colleague who compared his musical wizardry to that of the Matrix trilogys hero, Neo. Weve never seen him rock a floor-length trench coat, but we have heard the fruits of his labor, and they indeed make even the ordinary feel sublime. We didnt need a red pill to get lost in the melody of Beyoncés Irreplaceable, and the blue pill would have probably landed us in county jail if we had listened to the song he wrote for R&B hunk Mario while under its influence. This Wednesday at the American Airlines Arena, Ne-Yo wont need to pull from his catalogue of songwriting credits; he has a gaggle of his own hits to appease the audience. After soulsters Musiq Soulchild and Jazmine Sullivan warm up the crowd, tune in for live versions of So Sick, Closer, and, of course, the pseudo-feminist anthem Miss Independent.
Wed., Feb. 11, 8 p.m., 2009