Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Groupie Retelling: The Last Leg of the Sade US Tour

This past Monday, I traveled to Norfolk, VA to witness her majesty Sade in concert for the last performance of her US tour. As you should know, Sade blesses with a concert every decade or so, so seeing her live is a rare treat that anyone who has the opportunity tries to do as quickly as possibly. My spouse got tickets on Groupon and, despite the four hour drive to Norfolk, we were on an amped high as we anticipated her approaching concert.

For starters, the concert started on time.

John Legend Didn't Suck

In this day and age, that is saying A LOT. John Legend, the opening act, came on stage when he was supposed to and opened with an Adele tune (forgot the name, sorry) and an energetic band. While I'm not privy to Legend's song catalog as I am of the legendary Sade, I danced along with everyone else to Legend's closing numbers which included "Cloud 9" and "Green Light". I was hoping he would perform the song he sang on Sergio Mendes' classic CD Timeless, but, alas, no go.

I will say that Legend sounds great live and is quite a cutie. While his stage show wasn't as expertly or excitedly executed as Sade's (no lighting show or clothes change or dramatic entrance or transitions), he held his own and brought quite a lot of passion to the stage.

When Legend exited, the crowd was thoroughly energized and awaiting Queen Sade.

Her Highness Set the Bar

How Sade took center stage was epic; we were not disappointed. She came onstage in a belted black number with her bad-ass band and held us in awe. The entrance was noteworthy. Rising from below on three platforms, the band appeared as if from nowhere and as they emerged from below, a beam of light shone from below, and up walked Sade. The large screen that showcased the stage was operated by first-class videographers who captured the action on stage as if producing a music video. I won't be surprised if the entire tour is packaged and sold because the stage shots were flawless. The entire light show, stage set and transitions were award-worthy.

The Sade concert illustrated why we are so in awe of the band Sade and its lead singer. First, she exudes a type of class that is found NO WHERE else in the music scene today. Her cool, laid-back and elegant aura is magnetic and aside from her unique voice, you are drawn to her royal demeanor. Matching her style is her band, with their ruggedly clean and masculine musical support. The entire concert set was executed in a way to convey this aura of elegance-- from the red drapes and gossamer back screen, to the basic black lighting penetrated by simple white strobe. The  set decor matched with perfection the theme and energy of each song.

And, speaking of songs, the order and song choice was impeccable. While I am a Sade fan who has been following her since the late 80's, some of her new music hasn't become part of my groupie playlist just yet. While I've reviewed her music that came out last year, my heart has not attached so readily to the recent songs as they have with old classics like "Smooth Operator", "Kiss of Life" and basically every song pre-Soldier of Love album. What she did during her concert, was play a classic every other song or twice before inserting a new song from the new album, keeping us old-head fans content and always on the age of our seat screaming singing along in groupie fandom.

 All Endings Are Not the Same

The concert ended in a way that I had never experienced before. Maybe it was because it was the last US date or perhaps its her way, I'm not sure. But, it was endearing and only made my spouse and I feel more siced that we had made the concert. When she introduced her band, there was no music and the band members all walked from behind their instruments. She introduced them one by one, recalling a personal memory of how she met them and why they are special to her. After introducing them all, she wrapped her arms around them and said, "this is us."

Of course, we got the obligatory encore performance out of her, but at that point, we were already thrilled with what we had experienced. Sade is a consummate performer, an exemplary professional and very worthy of her legendary status of one of the greatest artists during our lifetime. I will gladly wait another ten years to see her again, but, if this, in fact her last tour to ever happen, I am grateful to have witnessed it as I did.

All hail the Queen!

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