Mary J Blige's people treat her like the queen of R&B - and it felt like we were in the company of royalty at the iTunes Festival on Thursday.
Thankfully, it was only Mary J's entourage enforcing the law.
After more than ten years in the business, R&B diva Mary J Blige has just clocked up the most successful record of her career.
Produced by NWA founder Andre Young, better known as rapper Eminem's mentor Dr Dre, Mary J's funky Family Affair spent over six weeks at the top of the US pop singles chart last November, while also becoming her biggest hit so far in the UK, reaching number 3 in our charts the previous month.
Mary J Blige is in the middle of her 40-date No More Drama world tour, taking in the USA, Japan and Europe, which arrives at Birmingham's NEC Arena next Friday (April 19) for her first British show for over five years.
The prospect of catching Mary J Blige in concert should be enough to persuade every self-respecting modern soul fan to make a beeline for the NEC box office, as anyone who witnessed the woman's explosive performance of No More Drama which climaxed this year's Grammy Awards, or who owns a copy of her incandescent live album The Tour, from the Summer of 1998 will agree, but the September 11th tragedy has left the 31 year-old singer with a wariness for her own safety.
'Mary J Blige is not really commercially flying right now,' she reveals.
The tour is titled after Mary J's acclaimed new album No More Drama, multi-platinum in the US and approaching platinum sales in the UK, and recently re-released with brand new cover artwork and three additional tracks, Rainy Dayz featuring Ja Rule, He Think I Don't Know and exclusively for the UK, The Girl From Yesterday, plus extra remixes of No More Drama featuring her old nemesis P Diddy and her latest single Dance For Me featuring Chicago emcee Common.
ONE of the rarest sights in greyhound racing has to be that of a Category One winner in action at Portsmouth, but that is just what is in prospect tonight when Reading Masters winner Jicky goes in the third heat of the Beauty Box At Mary J
's Golden Muzzle over 438m there tonight.