Sade & John Legend – Austin Review 9/7/11
I had to turn in my metalhead membership card for a night. May I have it back now? Thanks.
Last night was Sade and opening act, John Legend. What a show. I’ve been a fan since her 1984 debut album Diamond Life. What a voice. Smooth, unique, beautiful. She doesn’t tour often and when she did in the past, the opportunity never seemed right for me to see her. That is until this show.
Earlier this year her tour dates were announced and the closest one to me was Houston. It was a weeknight and once again I didn’t go, this time because of work. I would have had to take a day and a half of vacation that I didn’t want to spare. After the tour had started, more dates were added with Austin being one of them. AUSTIN! Even better it was scheduled at a venue 6 blocks from my house.
The day of the presale I wasn’t able to find a code to use and a friend on Facebook let me know that Citicard was one of the companies offering presale tickets. Just so happened that I have a Citicard that hadn’t been activated yet. Luckily the presale accepted my number and BOOM, I got 3 front row center tickets. My friends got the next 3 seats. We were set. Finally I was going to see one of my favorite vocalists ever. Just a week and a half earlier I got to see Odin in Hollywood, a band that I had waited 25 years to see. I’m a pretty lucky fella for sure.
The day I bought the tickets, I called my buddy Mike who I knew was a huge fan and offered him one of the tickets for face value. Mike is one of the biggest Sade fans I know and a phenomenal singer in his own metal right. Mike sings for Texas metal legends Militia. Mike instantly accepted and my other ticket was to go to whomever I decided to take with me. That ended up being my best friend, Amelia. I missed her birthday and thought that this would be a good belated gift. She was pretty excited when I asked her to go.
Now, on to the show! The 3 of us walked to a restaurant for a quick dinner then into the Frank Erwin Center to get our seats. It reminded me of the old days going to shows at Hampton Coliseum and Norfolk Scope except none of the shows I saw back then were reserved seating. Apparently there was some weird problem with the seating in the front row but security got it straight and we were able to remain in our spots. Sweet!
John Legend was originally scheduled to go on at 7:30, but I think the problem with the seating and some other issues
delayed him until 8:30. I’ve never heard one song by the guy and didn’t know anything about him. I had no expectations but generally was disinterested in seeing his performance. All I can say is that I was pleasantly surprised when he started. He’s a really good singer and pays the piano pretty well. While I don’t think I’d ever buy any of his music, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him live again. He’s a solid performer and his backup band was pretty badass, especially the drummer and guitarist. You could have inserted those dudes into any metal band and they would be able to hold their own just fine.
Being right up against the stage, we didn’t get the cleanest mix. I don’t think I heard any of the bass and most of the drum sounds I got were straight from the kit, which was nice actually. Same with the guitar, we got most of his stuff from his small Fender-copy stage amp. There were times when you could hear John’s voice coming at us naturally, mainly when he would stand in front of us at the edge of the stage. We were literally 10’ from the edge of the stage. It was quite incredible, really. Nice show, John Legend!
After his set, everything is removed from the stage completely and it was completely empty. I noticed that her stage setup was under the stage and most things would be moved up and down with hydraulics. Bob Marley’s One Love started playing and that has apparently been her intro music for years.
All of a sudden some spotlights come on and Sade appears as does her band, opening with Soldier of Love. She is still
quite beautiful and her voice seems unchanged. There were professional video cameras in the stadium. We were asked before the show to sit during the performances of Jezebel and Pearls, obviously for video purposes. When she did Jezebel, she sat on the edge of the stage right in front of us. It was quite incredible for me. The whole night. Her set was a good mix of her hits as well as some lesser known songs (unless you’re a big fan).
There were a few quick wardrobe changes but it was no detraction at all. She’s still got “it”…whatever “it” is. She’s got a good sense of humor as well and that woman’s smile could easily melt glaciers. Stunning.
Three of the guys in the band have been with her since her first album, which is pretty impressive. They also had a band called Sweetback, whose first album is pretty good. All of these guys have some serious chops at their respective instruments.
The sound up front was a little better, but the bass and keyboards were still pretty low because of our location to the mains. No biggie. Like during Legend’s set, there were time where you could hear Sade’s natural voice when she was at the edge of the stage and the music was low. Incredible. She belted out a few notes here and there that certainly gave me chills as did her performance of No Ordinary Love. Easily my favorite song of hers and it was spot on beautiful last night.
Because of the pre-show delays, her performance didn’t end until almost 12:30AM. I got up at 6:30AM for work and it took me forever to wind down from the show and finally fall asleep last night. I’m tired but it was worth every effort. I’ve seen a lot of shows since I first started attending concerts in 1985, but this one I think is in my top 10 all time and easily top 2 of all non-metal/hard rock shows. It was a great night all around with great friends and wonderful music. If she ever tours again, I’ll certainly try to be there and will certainly try for front row again!
- Soldier of Love
- Your Love Is King
- Kiss of Life
- Love Is Found
- In Another Time
- Smooth Operator
- Bring Me Home
- Is It a Crime
- Love Is Stronger Than Pride
- All About Our Love
- Nothing Can Come Between Us
- Morning Bird
- King of Sorrow
- The Sweetest Taboo
- The Moon and the Sky
- No Ordinary Love
- By Your Side
- Cherish the Day (Encore)