Growing up, between my parents' vinyl and CD collections, we were well-stocked with the greatest and latest in R&B and hip-hop, from vintage Isley Brothers, Average White Band, and Atlantic Starr ("Whatchu know about that?") to A Tribe Called Quest, Jodeci, and Maxwell. On the weekends while doing housework (cleaning, laundry, and ironing), we played records and CDs—from first track to last—by the likes of Anita Baker, Michael and Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and, yes, Sade. (I could probably sing Love Deluxe verbatim in my sleep.)
These fond memories, and the possibility that the opportunity may not come for another 10 years (if ever again), compelled me to find a way to see Sade (with very special guest John Legend) on her Soldier of Love Tour, come hell or high water. Neither hell nor high water came, but, unable to attend a more conveniently located show mainly due to my run in Othello last month, I went to Atlantic City. The concert was well worth the trip.
John Legend set it off. I'd seen him perform a short concert in Central Park after releasing his first album, and I've seen him perform on numerous shows. I knew the brother was talented, but whoa—it was like sexy Saturday night chuch up in there!
Ray, the biopic about Ray Charles, is one of my favorite movies. I remember wondering why Ray Charles got so much flak in his day from religious folks for the convergence of sacred and secular in his music. In other words, he used the sound, flavor, and energy of black gospel to sing about "worldly" matters. Legend put this into perspective. (While I don't agree with it, I now understand the brouhaha.) Like Ray, he got chuch all up and through him and his music, his set was deliciously divine.
He scored bonus points with me by playing two of my favorites: "Ordinary People" and "Green Light." He also blessed us with a handful of tracks from the album Once Again, which I played on a daily basis for awhile when I lived in L.A.