Friday 6 March 2015

On Stage: D'Angelo

Although I didn't have tickets to the sold out shows of D'Angelo I was at Paradiso a lot later than the singer was supposed to start and hoped to see maybe the last fifteen minutes or so. We found out that he started way later and instead of fifteen minutes got more than we bargained for with more than one and a half hours of his excellence.

D'Angelo at Paradiso Amsterdam, March 2 2015

I wasn't sure if I should write about a show where I missed a full first hour. However this has been an experience I want to share with you, since what we saw was simply amazing. With his more than great new album Black Messiah out showing his return to form, tonight he proved he's in better shape than ever.

Although not all musicians on the record are playing live with him, his backing band has a large part in the stunning performance. Drummer Chris Dave is an excellent stand in for ?uestlove and he's playing the grooves so tight and thick, that every song simply makes you want to move. Add legendary bass player Pino Palladino to it and you have a rhythm section to die for, one of the best in the industry. Former The Time guitar player Jesse Johnson adds the right amount of funk together with Isaiah Sharkey and the background singers are top notch. P-Funk's Kendra Foster, co-writer on the album, is also part of the game, which makes this backing band a soul, funk grooving machine that is hard to top.

Let's not forget D'Angelo himself who looks fit again and especially his voice sounds incredible. It is full of soul and his falsetto is clear as glass hitting every note. The singer looks very alive, moves around the stage in a relaxed way, making contact with the crowd all the time, giving out high fives and hand shakes. It's great to see the man on top of his game again and apparently enjoying it. With his "Dream Team" the songs are like wax, that can be molded into every way they like. And so songs are turned into funky steamy jams, stretched out beyond the horizon, a delightful blend of the best of James Brown, Prince and Sly Stone.

Big songs of the latest album like 'The Charade' and 'Sugah Daddy' turn into epic monuments, musical highlights and one of the finest moments this legendary venue has ever seen. The crowd is completely aware of this and from top to bottom from back to front everyone is dancing and staring in awe at the stage. It keeps begging for more when the band leaves the stage and gets all it can swallow for the second encore when the band closes with a passionate 'Untitled (How Does It Feel)', where the band members leave the stage one by one until only D'Angelo himself remains behind his piano. Tonight he turned Paradiso into a church again where for a moment he truly became the Messiah, leaving his crowd exhausted, but still begging for more.

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01. Prayer
02. 1000 Deaths
03. Ain't That Easy
04. Feel Like Makin' Love
05. Really Love
06. One Mo'Gin
07. Alright
08. Brown Sugar
09. The Charade
10. Sugah Daddy
11. Lady
12. Back To The Future
13. Left & Right
14. Chicken Grease
15. Till It's Done (Tutu)
16. Untitled (How Does It Feel)

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