Thursday, August 13th, 8p
Madison Square Garden, NYC
I hate to admit it, but I was on the fence as to whether or not to attend this show. Even though I have seen some major shows like Kanye West‘s Glow in the Dark, Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z‘s Heart of the City, and Tina Turner at Madison Square Garden, I really hate the venue. For me, Madison Square Garden is too large which can often lead to feeling disconnected from the artist. On the other hand, with a combination like John Legend and India.Arie at MSG, how could I pass this up? Out of all the performers I have seen during my adult life as a music connoisseur, I’m ashamed to say that I had never seen India.Arie perform. I had a double dose of John Legend, after the release of his second album Once Again. I had the chance see him in concert twice in one week as well as met him briefly at an album signing event. After that, I had felt that I had seen all of John Legend there was to see. The more I listened to his latest album, Evolver, I had a feeling that if I passed on this show, I would regret it. I’m glad I didn’t pass. John Legend and India.Arie exceeded my expectations!
India.Arie’s performance was much like a forty-five minute spiritual rebirth of your mind, body, and soul through music. “I ask that you watch this show in three ways. With your eyes of course, with your ears, but most importantly with an open heart,” she said beautifully dressed in a long flowing Mexican inspired black dress with accents of red and green and a red see-through sequent wrap blouse. Her smile was the only spotlight she needed. I was instantly connected with her as she opened her show with a brief prayer for those musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Michael Jackson, who came before her and influenced her career. There were very little theatrics needed because India’s energy, enthusiasm, and humility were more than enough in her performance. She amazed me with her talent on the acoustic guitar, blew me away with the same level of talent on the flute and keyboards, and moved me to tears with her soulful voice.
India.Arie performed songs from her albums Acoustic Soul (2001), Voyage to India (2002), Testimony: Vol.1, Life & Relationship (2006), and her most recent release Testimony: Vol 2, Love and Politics:
This Shall Pass
Therapy joined by Gramps Morgan
I’m Not My Hair
He Heals Me
Heart of the Matter
I’m ready for Love
John Legend stood in the middle of the audience with a spotlight shining down on him as he opened his show with singing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song in acappella. It wasn’t what I expected and I felt like it was too slow to start off the show. Before I knew it, the show turned into two hours of none stop energy. Andre 3000 was right when he said in Legend’s song Green Light “sometimes you’ve gotta step from around the piano”. This was clearly not the same show I saw three years ago, when he performed mostly at a piano and awkwardly danced. This time, John did not limit himself to playing at the piano, he turned on the Marvin Gaye sex appeal and worked the stage as women, young and old, screamed his name. There was one huge screen behind him that assisted in a theatrical transition from song to song often playing images from his music videos. Special guests Rick Ross, Buju Banton, Estelle, and Kanye West were an added bonus to this show that could not keep me in my seat. I appreciate John Legend for his amazing musicianship. As he performed I listened as if I were discovering his music for the first time. I not only walked away feeling satisfied with an amazing concert, but also with a new found love for John Legend. What this show did for me was show me who John Legend is beyond the radio singles we love, which his past shows did not. He brilliantly and seamlessly wove together his songs with the songs of artists who influenced him such as, Michael Jackson, Prince, The O’Jays, and Roberta Flack. My cup of love for him over flowed when he blended Prince’s Purple Rain and Adore with This Time from his current album Evolver. John Legend proved to all those in attendance that he has truly evolved as an artist and a performer. There is no doubt that John Legend will have a long and amazing career and I, the Concert Junkie, plan to attend his concerts along the journey!
John Legend performed songs from his albums Get Lifted (2004), Once Again (2006), and Evolver (2008):
Used to Love You
It’s Over/Remember the Time
Quickly joined by backup singer Jessica Wilson
Refuge (When Its Cold Outside)
PDA/Rock Creek Park/Feel Like Making Love
No Other Love joined by Estelle
Can’t Be Your Lover joined by Buju Banton
So Magnificent joined by Rick Ross
Good Morning joined by India.Arie
I Can Change
American Boy performed by Estelle and Kanye West
One More Try
This Time/Purple Rain/Adore
Cloud 9/Stairway to Heaven
Ordinary People (Encore)
Stay With You (Encore)
John Legend performing “Remember The Time”
American Boy performance
Be sure to catch John Legend and India.Arie when they come to a city near you. For more information on this tour please visit http://tour.johnlegend.com/.